Tokyo Olympics, all bans. You can’t talk to the Japanese, meals in plexiglass booths –

of Marco Imarisio, sent to Tokyo

In the city and in the Olympic bubble, a double language is spoken: one for the Japanese, now opposed to the Games, and another for the rest of the world, who arrive in hope.

And after the three tampons before departure, those upon arrival, the endless queue and the exhausting wait, at least let them do it, these Olympic Games. Just enough time to turn the phones back on, e the athletes who arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday from all over the world they received a warm welcome welcome by the president of the organizing committee of the Games. To those who asked him if it was still possible to cancel at the last moment of the biggest sporting event on the planet, Toshiro Muto replied by showing the reassuring firmness of these last days, even months. We cannot predict what will happen. If there is a peak of cases, we will continue discussions, all still possible.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of the athlete of an unknown sport, one of which we will talk about only in the case of a medal and then immediately return to market football. He was ready to compete last year, but that’s how it went, never mind. The summer of 2021 arrives, which seemed to be that of the rebirth, before the Delta variant. Almost everywhere in the world. But not in Japan, which is becoming the outpost of the fifth pandemic wave, and the fourth was not even over. He trained for an extra year to get here and feel like a pariah.

Why smile, everyone smiles, right from the entrance to the lobby of an empty airport. But it is clear that no one is needed in Tokyo. These Olympics are posthumous in life, at least for the Japanese. Not a sign, not an advertising poster. Nothing at all. by now it is known that the aversion of the locals to the Games, it does not matter whether it is political or economic, given that with the postponement of one year they will cost six billion dollars, becoming the most expensive ever. But also net of the non-arrival of forty million tourists estimated in 2020, there is something in this widespread removal as irrational as fear of the virus can be.

This alone can explain the dual language that is spoken these days, one for the locals and one for the rest of the world. With the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach who just reiterates that deletion is not an option, backed by the top sports executives of every nation convinced that returning home now would be madness, while his Japanese alter ego does not rule him out, and Yuriko Koike, governor of the Tokyo metropolitan region, feels compelled to apologize to her fellow citizens for the inconvenience and danger brought by the Games.

The consequence of a schizophrenic tiramolla between the IOC that defends its product and the Japan-system that rejects it, the creation of an almost punitive bubble for athletes, managers and media operators. You pass by the incredible amount of cards to fill out and apps to download to be checked via Gps in every movement. You also spend a waiting time at the airport after landing which if all goes well of almost four hours, but for many it got worse, to fill out the same documents and redo the swabs.

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Then you go out to see the sky again, picked up in a group by a shuttle that takes you to a parking lot from which everyone can reach their destination with a dedicated taxi. But only one person can board at a time. IS to walk, not even to talk about it. There would be a risk of mixing or meeting the natives, when the declared objective of the organizers was from the beginning to avoid any contact between foreigners and the local population. It is not possible to walk inside the bubble. Doing the Olympics, pretending they don’t exist. It is forbidden to take the metro, buses, normal taxis.

A group of reporters asked to be allowed out of the bubble to talk to some locals on the bus for a fifteen-minute photo-ban visit to the empty courtyard of the Tokyo National Museum. At the Olympic Village, as well as at the International Press Center, you can eat at tables with individual seats surrounded by plexiglass walls that bring to mind the booths from which the competitors of Mike Bongiorno’s quizzes answered.

Sociality among athletes, which is the raison d’être of the old Olympia, has been abolished. Even the news doesn’t circulate anymore. Tuesday gThe Italians asked the media for confirmation of the positive South African players, so at least we are even further away from them.. Every team manager’s day begins with unprecedented recommendations to athletes. Please, fill in the daily form of the app on your health conditions, then remember the daily salivary test, be careful not to drink, do not eat, do not brush your teeth first, which then make us do it again. For heaven’s sake, nnone he complains openly, indeed the watchword that is imposed from above on all those directly involved is that these are Games that are different from any other edition, and God forbid. But it’s worth it.

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July 20, 2021 (change July 20, 2021 | 23:11)

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