Excitement about the Olympic games has been building since the last closing ceremony years back. And now, on top of event delays, financial restrictions, and athletes being held to new standards, more unfortunate news has surfaced about the Tokyo Olympics.
Due to the increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, the International Olympic Committee announced that the games will be held without an audience. That's right; this year, the stadium seating will remain empty without anyone to cheer on the athletes in person.
So, come July 23-August 8, when the Tokyo Olympics will be taking place, the closest anyone will be able to get to the real-life action is their TV and computer screens. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 11,000 new COVID-19 cases have been detected in Japan, calling for a state of emergency.
Because approximately 15% of the country's population is fully vaccinated, most of the community remains subject to the dangerous virus. "It is regrettable that we are delivering the games in a very limited format, facing the spread of coronavirus infections," Seiko Hashimoto, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee president, said.
"I am sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas," she continued. According to the official Olympic website, the IOC initially planned to welcome 10,000 people of 50% of the venue's capacity to attend the games, but now, plans have changed. Per the website, current ticket holders will receive a refund. Japan's state of emergency has been predicted to last from July 12-August 22, adding to the frustration about the entire ordeal. Even Olympic officials have taken a huge hit in the planning and rescheduling of the games.
The Olympic planning committee revealed that over $2.8B was spent reorganizing the events thus far. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently declared, "Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up [COVID-19] prevention measures." If you can believe it, this includes no high-fiving or hugging at the games.