This Olympics in Tokyo is very very special for several reasons. First and foremost, it is being held at a time when the danger of Coronavirus is yet to ebb. There have been several protests and criticism from certain quarters for holding the games during such a critical juncture. However, as the famous quote goes “ the show must go on” (come hell or high water) is the right way of responding to such diatribes. Many scoffed at the ‘money-minded’ International Olympics Committee for going ahead with the Tokyo 2020 games despite the increasing number of cases in Tokyo and even among participants and games officials. But the event has begun with a bang, thereby silencing the army of naysayers. Still, a long way to go but so far so good.
The other reason why this Olympics has turned special is because of the almost equal female participation, at 49%, a first in the history of Olympics. It is indeed a mystery as to why it took so long to narrow the gap considerably, precisely 125 years since the first modern all-men games that did not allow women participation. In fact, we should all raise a toast to the nations that have drafted more women than men: the US, China, UK, Australia, Canada and Russian Olympic Committee (as Russia is banned over a national doping scandal). Even India also deserves a pat on its back for sending the highest number of women participants ever for the Olympics and bridging the gender gap to a great extent. Aren’t these special reasons to watch Olympics this time with great pride.
The other reason why this Olympics has assumed importance is because of the courageous response by an unusual suspect to years of humiliating treatment. If you have spent some time in certain parts of North India, then you would know how people from North East are treated over there. On the very first day of the Olympics, it was an apt riposte by Mirabai Chanu, who won the silver medal for weightlifting, for the constant taunts her natives endured over the years. In the end, it was nothing short of poetic justice to watch the very own people cheering for Chanu who were otherwise busy making fun at the expense of the North East community.
Another reason that makes this Tokyo event out of the ordinary is the presence of various tales of resilience. As the event is taking place post the fatal second wave of the pandemic, there are several participants who have had to confront the irreplaceable losses of their near and dear ones to the miserable virus. For most of them, the predicament can be too tough to handle but they are taking part or competing at the Olympics just to prove that the deaths or losses are inferior commodities compared to their courage, battle and resilience against the unfortunate tragedies that befell them.
For all these reasons this year’s Olympics is truly worth its weight in the gold. The spirit of cooperation that we don’t see otherwise is very much on display in the event among the participants. The same kind of unity and bond is required in the world today due to the highly polarised times that we are living in. Therefore, this Olympics can be the saving grace in these tough times. Finally, do you still believe that this Olympics is not special at all?