The Tokyo Olympic Games have kicked off under a dark cloud. The 2020 Olympics, postponed by the pandemic, are being hosted in Japan, which is still technically in a state of emergency because of COVID-19.
Regardless of protests and despite deep disapproval at the apparent contradictions to Japanese national health orders, the games are going ahead.
“People in Japan are really frustrated because Olympic committee members are having gala events and dinners yet restaurants are shut down. That’s not fair. So I appreciate the protesters,” said two-time Olympic rower Jennifer Walinga.
Walinga rowed on the 1988 and 1992 coxed four rowing teams. She says protests, in one form or another, have always been a part of the games.
Here in Canada, there are talks of boycotting the 2020 games, because of the controversy.
While Walinga is torn on having the Olympics during a pandemic, she believes the athletes and the competition will be a uniting force.
“I think what’s becoming apparent to the world, is that it is a salve. It’s a mirror to what we went through in the pandemic. That we all have to pitch in and help each other through this,” said Wallinga.
Regardless of the controversy, she’ll be tuning in.
“I think that’s why people love sports so much. The Olympics is the most-watched thing in the world,” said Walinga. “It’s unpredictable. There’s no script. You have no idea how things are going to unfold.”