The Star Late Edition

IOC blinded by $$$ signs

- Morgan.bolton@inl.co.za

THE IOC seems to be desperate right now, and desperate people do desperate things that are not logical or sensible, and certainly not in the interests of those around them.

The situation in Japan is deteriorat­ing, and according to Reuters this particular wave of Covid-19, fuelled by new variants, has placed the healthcare system under severe pressure. On Wednesday, 7 521 new cases of the disease were recorded with 103 further deaths, adding to 11 148 individual­s that have sadly died in that country.

You might think South Africa has concerns and problems with its vaccinatio­n programme, but Japan is struggling just as much, with only an estimated 2% of its 125 million citizens receiving the jab.

The state of emergency has also been extended in the country to the end of the month, and while the IOC and Japanese government insist that the Tokyo Games will continue, no matter what, IOC chief Thomas Bach cancelled his trip to the nation this week.

You don't have to wonder why. Bach and the Japanese politician­s might not want to admit that holding the Olympics in 10 weeks’ time is a bad idea, but the majority of the Japanese people – as much as 60% of them as per a recent poll – do think the Games should be postponed or cancelled.

Their outrage grows every day, amplified by uncaring decrees from the government, like the one this week that called on 500 more nurses to volunteer for duty at the Games ... while a health crisis continues to unfold.

Moreover, 35 towns have abandoned their plans to host internatio­nal athletes, while major sponsors, like Toyota, are starting to voice their concerns.

Currently, there is every indication that this wave of the coronaviru­s in Japan will only worsen in the days to come, but the narrative of the IOC and Japanese government is seemingly ignoring it, putting economic selfintere­st above the cost to human life, including the lives of their athletes, which the organisati­on has decreed to be their greatest and most important asset.

It is all about the money right now, and it is blinding the IOC, and a nation that has invested a staggering R214-billion to host the Games.

TV deals are in place, broadcast money must be collected, sponsorshi­p deals harvested, and cash deposited into the greedy coffers of the IOC – the pandemic be damned.

On Wednesday an antiOlympi­cs activist hijacked the

IOC news conference, where the committee no doubt crooned and self-congratula­ted itself for their heroic conviction to continue with their plans of July 23.

Instead, it was interrupte­d by a brief moment at the end by David O’Brien.

“No Olympics anywhere! No Olympics anywhere,” he shouted. “F*** the Olympics! We don't want the Olympics anywhere. No Olympics in LA, no Olympics in Tokyo!”

I love the Olympics, don’t get me wrong, but right now I have to agree with his sentiment.

These Olympic Games should be cancelled.

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