Olympic Rings

Florida Official Wants 2021 Olympics To Take Place In His State Amid Cancellation Rumors 

Jimmy Patronis is Florida’s chief financial officer who recently wrote the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in an effort to get them to move the upcoming summer Games to his state should they be canceled in Tokyo. 

Patronis wrote the IOC this Monday, requesting that they relocate the 2021 Games to Florida should they be canceled or postponed again; the Summer Games were initially meant to happen in Summer 2020 but obviously the Covid-19 pandemic postponed that. 

In his letter he cited a recent report from Japanese officials that apparently already decided they would be canceling the Games this year completely due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The IOC adamantly denied the legitimacy of that report, however, and claimed that the government in Japan has made no such announcement yet. 

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“There is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida to meet with statewide and local officials holding the Olympics in the Sunshine State.”

Patronis continued on to claim that he would greatly “welcome the opportunity to pitch Florida and help the IOC make the right contacts to get this done.” He argues that Florida’s “ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation network” would allow it to successfully hold the Games and that the “12 major universities that have existing sports facilities” could be used as well. 

“I think most importantly, we have a state with leaders who are willing to get this done,” Patronis claimed. Unfortunately for him, it’s going to be pretty much impossible for the 2021 Games to be held in the Sunshine State. The IOC has not only already committed to holding the Games in Tokyo, but with only six months until the projected start of the Games, there’s literally no way for the committee to start from scratch and plan a worldwide event during a global pandemic. 

IOC has also made it very clear that there is no “Plan B” in place in regards to a new location to hold the Games, and even if they were interested in moving them to Florida, it would take the entire support of the federal governments from both Japan and the US to get behind it. This would also never happen as both government bodies are currently busy dealing with a global health crisis. 

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Victor Matheson is an economist who is considered an expert in Olympic economic impacts for local communities. Matheson recently spoke with the press about Patronis’ suggestion, calling the plan “batsh*t insane.”

“The idea that just because Florida has a lot of hotels that they could organize an entire Olympics event within six months is absolutely crazy.”

The coronavirus also is obviously a major reason why the Games would never come to Florida of all places. Within the US Florida is number 3 in terms of states with the most Covid-19 cases. The state has been a hotspot for the virus on multiple occasions, and the state government has pretty much ignored every social distance rule, mask mandate, and any other health and safety policy meant to curb the spread of Covid-19; you can currently go out to clubs and bars in Florida without a mask. 

Regardless of any further efforts from Florida officials to try to get the Games to move locations, the IOC will continue to move forward with having the Olympics in Tokyo. The Games could potentially be postponed or cancelled all together this summer again pending how much worse or better the pandemic gets. 77% of Japanese citizens are in favor of canceling or postponing the Games again, so only time will tell if the world will see and Olympics this year or not.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

Tokyo Olympic Organizers And IOC Conflict Over Who Pays For Postponement Of Games

Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are in the middle of an intense financial feud over who will cover the costs for the “unprecedented yearlong postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.”

A spokesperson for Tokyo’s organizers, Masa Takaya, recently said that the organizing committee has asked the IOC, which is based in Switzerland, to remove a specific statement on the IOC’s website that suggests the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has agreed that Japan would pay for a majority of the postponement costs. This is what began the initial conflict. 

“It will now be the work of the IOC to assess all the challenges induced by the postponement of the Games, including the financial impact for the Olympic Movement. The Japanese government has reiterated that it stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting successful Games. At the same time, the IOC has stressed its full commitment to the successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC and the Japanese side, including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, will continue to assess and discuss jointly about the respective impacts caused by the postponement,” according to the IOC.

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For context, media reports in Japan have estimated that the yearlong postponement brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely cost up to $6 billion when all is said and done. That’s an estimation, as the actual cost of postponing and rescheduling an Olympics isn’t something that’s ever had to be calculated. In fact, the Olympic games have never actually been postponed before; they have been cancelled three times though, all for war related reasons.  

“It’s not appropriate for the prime minister’s name to be quoted in this manner,” Takaya said. Within IOC’s Frequently Asked Questions page, the organization went on to also claim that Japan “will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

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After the initial complaint from Tokyo, the IOC removed Abe’s specific name from any questions regarding financial obligations. The edited version is what’s quoted above: “The Japanese government has reiterated that it stands ready to fulfill its responsibility for hosting successful games.”

Regardless of the feud between Japan and the IOC, technically and legally, it’s up to the Japanese government to pay for a majority of the costs for the postponement, however, it’s a relatively sensitive time to be mentioning the costs of a sporting event while there’s a worldwide pandemic that’s already greatly impacting the economy. 

Under the terms of the Host City Contract that Tokyo signed in 2013, the city of Tokyo, the Japanese Olympic Committee and local organizers are obligated to always pay most of the costs. Section 68 of the contract reads: “Unless expressly stipulated otherwise in this contract, all obligations of the city, the NOC and/or the OCOG pursuant to this contract, shall be at their expense.”

The Tokyo Olympics are projected to begin on July 23rd 2021, and as of right now the Japanese Olympic Committee and government itself is focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, and rehabilitating their country/economy. Only time will tell how much this olympic postponement will further affect their economy as well.

2020 Olympics

Athlete Protests Banned At 2020 Olympic Games, Sparking Outrage

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is finding itself in the midst of an ongoing debate within the sports industry: professional athletes expressing their right to protest against certain societal injustices through kneeling or raising a fist in the air. The IOC’s solution is a ban on any and all protests from occuring at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The Olympics are no stranger to controversial protests, at the 1968 Mexico City Games, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were awarded both bronze and gold medals, and while on the winner’s podiums they proceeded to take off their shoes and raise a fist wearing a black leather glove in the air in solidarity with the Black Panther movement. The podium protest ended in the IOC expelling both Smith and Carlos and stripping them of their awards, however, since then they have been inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame, which makes the IOC’s recent protest ban even more confusing. 

The IOC’s new guidelines state that displaying any sort of political messaging, making gestures of a political nature, or refusal to follow the ceremony’s predetermined/traditional protocol will result in serious consequences, as all of those actions are a part of the official ban.

“When an individual makes their grievances, however legitimate, more important than the feelings of their competitors and the competition itself, the unity and harmony as well as the celebration of sport and human accomplishment are diminished. Failure to abide by the guidelines will result in the athlete’s action being evaluated by their respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation, and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary,” according to the guidelines

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Tommie Smith and John Carlos

Immediately after the news was released, fans, athletes, and those in the media were quick to call out the IOC’s hypocrisy within the new guidelines, stating that while the podiums and playing fields need to remain politically neutral, the IOC as an organization itself is able to take any political bias it pleases. Why are countries able to come and boast their national anthems and flags, but not protest about the injustices actually occurring within those countries, especially during the most popular televised sport events in history? Nancy Armour, a politics writer for USA Today, discussed this issue in an op-ed last Thursday (1/9/20) where she encapsulated the opposing view:

“The truth is, it’s not the mixing of politics and sports that [IOC president Thomas] Bach and the IOC don’t like. It’s just fine for Bach to lobby for the issues he finds important. Or to foster good relationships with world leaders who might someday bankrupt their economies in exchange for sparkling venues, five-star hotels, and Olympic traffic lanes that allow IOC members to avoid the general populace on the roads and in the airports. But God forbid athletes should stay silent about racism, homophobia, inequality, or murderous regimes. You know, issues that have a direct effect on their lives.”

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Armour’s point also called on hundreds of social media users who found themselves just as upset about the new guidelines. One of the guaranteed perks of living in a free country is having the right to speak up against/for any issue that you want because that’s something you earn as an individual with freedom. When major organizations protect the rights of big businesses and those in power, it begs the question how much “freedom” is too much freedom for average civilians in the eyes of the government. Is “freedom of speech” more of a formality than an actual law that all Americans, and any other free citizen around the world, are just supposed to accept? 

It also has created a narrative surrounding the rights of professional athletes. Athletes are normally just viewed as entertainers who serve the purpose of showing their skills on the field, and bringing home trophies for off the field. Their voices don’t matter, their political views, opinions etc. none of it actually matters as long as they can play the game. 

However, the world is a place of constant debate, disagreement, and bigotry. When those with monumental platforms speak up against injustices, it opens up a conversation amongst everybody on any level of power. No matter what “side” they’re on, the fact that someone with such a huge following is strictly meant to play a game and remain silent, is archaic in itself. Especially when the athletes themselves are minorities, from the outside, restrictive guidelines such as these show that the IOC is only concerned with minority rights when it’s regarding their presence in the Olympic Games, and the ratings they can bring in. 

Diallo Brooks, the director of People for the American Way, a political advocacy group, created a Twitter thread this past week that opened up an entire conversation about the presence of minority bodies versus minority voices in sporting events. 

“Young men/women of color who play sports are more than just entertainers, and they should not be penalized for speaking out peacefully against injustice. They must be allowed to have a voice. And when their voices are threatened, we have to raise our own and stand with them.”