By Kevin Barry
Image Source: Wikipedia
The long awaited summer Olympic games are back on this summer after a 5 year absence, here’s what you need to know. The summer Olympics includes 28 different sports with 38 disciplines, and those sports include swimming, tennis, basketball, soccer, and more. There are 206 countries/ territories that are able to participate in the Olympic games, so this year like many others will be a good one.
The Olympics this year last a total of 17 days taking place from July 23rd to August 8th. As many know, the competition will be occurring in Tokyo this year which has led over 10,000 volunteers to drop out due to covid concerns. This year, there will be more new people participating in or helping to run the games more than ever.
Keep an eye out for American competitors such as gymnast Simone Biles (as she can become the first woman to win back to back titles since 1968), Katie Ledecky (the young swimming prodigy is looking to bounce back from her underwhelming performance in the world championships in 2019), and Serena Williams (as the 39 year old tries to continue the family legacy and take yet another singles title).
Most of the team sports such as basketball and handball are made up of the best players from their respective leagues. So for the USA it’s very similar to a team you might see in the all-star game, as the majority of the team is made up of the best players in the NBA. Obviously, this builds up the hype for the team sports and recruits more viewers while at the same putting each country it’s the best position to win.
Whatever country or territory collects the most medals or medals of higher rank (ex. gold) “wins” that year’s Olympics. For example, in the 2016 Summer Olympics the United States took the cake totaling 121 total medals, which includes 46 gold medals. So to keep score at home one could count a gold as 3 points, silver as 2, and bronze as 1 to stay on pace with whoever’s in front.
Despite the U.S. taking the 2016 Olympics, the great thing about the games is different countries are good at different things. For running in the past the best countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, and Jamaica. The Olympics are how some of these athletes from 3rd world countries can have an opportunity to make a name for themselves while also competing for their country.
This year as Covid is still present there are a lot of unknown variables when it comes to the games, but here’s what we do know. Although a recent poll found about 60% of Japanese people want the games canceled, as reported by Vox, Japan is set on having them. Japan’s covid rates are currently skyrocketing at about 6,000 new cases a day which obviously contributes to the lack of excitement about the games. Due to this foreign fans are banned from attending the games this year. But don’t worry, the U.S will still have the usual 15,000 athletes, coaches, trainers, and members of the media there.
With all that being said, we should send prayers and relief to the Japanese as they only have 1% of their population fully vaccinated and are experiencing one of their worst covid spikes yet. This year’s games will be different from any other years as we are doing it amidst a global pandemic. The general public is expecting some sort of PPE to be in play this year (but not enough has been released to us in order to form any kind of idea as to exactly what it’s going to look like). With all that being said, I encourage you to tune in this year. Whether it’s for water polo, table tennis, or everything in between.