Olympic Round-Up: Tokyo Attorney Calls for Cancellation, Athletes Protest

With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes prepare, or qualify, for the Olympic Games that are set to kick off in Tokyo on July 23rd.

Japanese Politician Calls for Cancellation of Olympic Games

In some of this week’s more notable Tokyo 2020 news, notable Japanese attorney and politician Kenji Utsunomiya organized an online petition titled “Stop Tokyo Olympics”. The petition quickly gained traction online, receiving 240,000 signatures since its creation.

Utsunomiya asserted that it is very possible that the Olympic Games could become a superspreader event, causing danger to the country’s healthcare workers, citizens, and athletes. According to him, the resources invested in the Games could be used to help the citizens of the country.

Utsunomiya has a strong following within Japan’s capital, having finished second in voting to serve as Tokyo’s mayor on three separate occasions: 2012, 2014, and 2020.

British Runner to Make Podium Statement

Adam Gemili, a sprinter who finished in 4th in the 200m at the 2016 Olympic Games, spoke out against the International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban podium protests.

Like American swimmer Anthony Ervin, who feels that the Olympics is the opportunity for athletes to lead their country and world, Gemili said:

“We are protesting as the minority and the fact that they are trying to limit that goes against everything the Olympics says it stands for. I get sport has to be separate from politics. But this is more than politics; this is humanitarian and about decency – this is not political at all. It is so disappointing that if that moment comes, I am not allowed to really have a voice, to do anything.”

Gemili is a part of a minority in supporting podium protests, both across all global and British athletes. In a study done by the IOC, only 16% of athletes were in favor of allowing podium protests. While the number climbed to 36% of athletes not directly opposed among British athletes, he still remains firmly in the minority.

Australian Women’s Basketball Player Threatens Boycott

A member of the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA and member of the Australian national team member, Liz Cambage has threatened to boycott the Tokyo games following the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) use of a ‘whitewashed’ photo as promotional material for the country’s team. Cambage spoke out following a social media post by Jockey Australia, who serves as the official underwear of the Australian Olympic and Paralympic teams.

While the AOC has since apologized and accepted blame for the promotional photos, Cambage has doubled down on her initial statement, suggesting she may not represent Australia this summer if she doesn’t see improvement.

As Camabage continues her stance on potentially boycotting the Games, the AOC has adjusted its constitution to encourage more inclusion within the AOC Athletes’ Commission. In the new constitution, at least one athlete of Aboriginal descent and one of Torres Strait Island descent will be included on the Commission at all times.

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1 month ago

If Japan wants to cancel or not hold the games, they need to say so now so it can be held somewhere else. It’s unfair to make the call at the last minute.

Reply to  Sarcastic
1 month ago

Florida, baby!!

Reply to  Olympian
1 month ago

Ron Desantis’ dream.

Desantis’ 2024 – Uniting the World Together

Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

Gas will be > 5 dollars, stock will crash so will retirement plan/401k, inflation will be crazy, the poor will be in greater hardship. GOP 2022 & 2024.

Michael Andrew Wilson
Reply to  Respect
1 month ago

LMAO I thought Dems were the ones who rooted for national disaster simply to spite the president.

Peep the Dow Jones, genius. The QOP is in total shambles worshipping the orange guy everyone knew was a moron 35 years ago.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Michael Andrew Wilson
1 month ago

Wow, that took a turn. How are we tying this back to Tokyo and the 2021 games?
Agree Florida would certainly be willing as would some other states but might be a bit late to relocate all the events.

Reply to  Sarcastic
1 month ago

Far too late now to relocate for this year …… unless they decide to split sports around whichever countries who may be willing to host a “world meet” for specific sports at short notice with these meets classified as Olympic tournament/championship. Such a move could’ve been viable for a number of sports had a “call” been made on Tokyo at the start of the year or even Jan/Feb but its going to be a major ask this late in the year.

Taking the most expedient route of just punting it 12 months down the road was always going to be a significant gamble that best case scenarios, both with the global situation and vaccination, would play out. A safer move,… Read more »

Sid Frisco
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

A global olympics that disperses events, utilizes existing infrastructure eliminates reliance on a single country to host. Makes sense. Many sports would have very little difficulty in such a move. Swim comes to mind…..

Reply to  Sarcastic
1 month ago

At least have each governing body of each sport have the chance to set something up for themselves. Would be much easier to let say FINA take aquatics and let the other ones do what they please with their sports.

Captain Ahab
Reply to  Sarcastic
1 month ago

They are not going to cancel the Olympics. Just relax and understand how entertainment works. In the entertainment world this is called “Increasing external conflict.” This is just building up the climax of the Olympics to get more viewers to watch on television. You have a pandemic, vaccine, athletes training their whole entire life, countries at odds with each other, triumph, and then victory.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 month ago

I think the Olympics will happen, but this comment is beyond dumb. Embarrassing would be closer but still doesn’t quite cover it

1 month ago

Dude says it’ll be a superspreader like it’s not already gone to every country in the world. Your not having spectators it can’t get that bad

1 month ago

The games will go ahead.
But empty stadiums