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How did Tokyo make it to the opening ceremony?



They are the Olympic Games that many people thought wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – happen.

However, after a turbulent journey, the Tokyo Games are finally here.

After being put on hold by a pandemic, the most unique Olympic Games in history will officially begin today. Final preparations are taking place, ahead of the opening ceremony.

Shrouded in uncertainty, and marred by controversy and a cost blowout, the lead up to the games has also seen calls for them to be cancelled or delayed again.

“We had doubts every day. We deliberated. We discussed. There were sleepless nights,” according to IOC President Thomas Bach.

However, he claims says cancellation was never an option.

“The IOC never abandons the athletes.”

Thomas bach

But what about the host nation – where most people are opposed to the Games going ahead?

“Japan had an enormous positive output to olympics but that shifted after pandemic started,” Barbara Holthus, the editor of Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics, tells Ticker News.

Still, organisers have repeatedly resisted calls to pull the pin.

Simon Denyer is The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo. He says there’s “indifference and in some cases outright hostility to these games happening here”.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised to deliver a “safe and secure” event.

Do Japanese people actually believe that will happen?

Well, according to a recent poll, two-thirds of the population do not.

Some health experts have even expressed concerns that the Olympics could become a COVID-19 super-spreader event. 

Sports economist Simon Chadwick wants organisers to embrace simple and clear messaging.

“Whether they like it or not, the organisers have got to strip this right back to some basic essentials and they need to make sure this is about safety, security, trust and respect”, he told Ticker News.

Just a month ago it was decided up to 10,000 fans would be allowed into venues.

That decision was reversed – with all spectators banned.

“There’s fences around venues, streets are closed off, it’s really separated from the population. There isn’t any sense of excitement I can discern in the city about the olympics,” according to Simon Chadwick.

The jam-packed Games will feature 339 medal events across 42 venues with more than 11,000 athletes expected to compete.

Former Olympic swimming champion Grant Hackett hopes once the sports spectacle begins, the magic of the Games will return.

“A lot of people are inspired about what a human being can do and hopefully that inspiration, gives inspiration back to community across the world,” he told Ticker News.


Team USA to require vaccination for 2022 Winter Olympians



Staff and athletes will be required to be fully vaccinated before the Beijing Winter Olympics, according to a policy announced by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced the policy on Wednesday.

The USOPC won’t consider unvaccinated athletes for the Beijing games, who will need to provide proof of vaccination by December 1st. The Winter Olympics will begin on the 4th of February next year.

The Associated Press obtained the letter CEO Sarah Hirshland sent to athletes and staff detailing the decision to implement the policy for future Olympic and Paralympic Games, starting with the 2022 Tokyo Winter Olympic Games.

“Effective Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee will require all USOPC staff, athletes and those utilizing USOPC facilities – including the training centers – to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” Hirshland wrote.

“This requirement will also apply to our full Team USA delegation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Athletes will be given the opportunity to apply for an exemption, and Hirshland hopes most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in time for the Games.

“The stark reality is that this pandemic is far from over,” Hirshland wrote.

“This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation and service to athletes.”

The USOPC also revealed data on vaccination rates at the Tokyo Olympics via their website, with 83% of Team USA, and 86% of international athletes at the Olympic Village being fully vaccinated.

Athletes previously weren’t required to be vaccinated by the International Olympic Committee to attend the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, although they encouraged athletes to get vaccinated.

-by Parker McKenzie

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UEFA shuts down FIFA proposal



UEFA has urged FIFA to stop pushing its plan for a two-year World Cup and instead to engage in “genuine consultation” about reform of the international match calendar

FIFA is currently conducting a feasibility study into holding the tournament on a biennial basis.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The proposal would signify a switch from the current four-yearly cycle. But FIFA has made no secret of its desire to switch to such a format.

epa08868644 A handout photo made available by FIFA of the World Cup Trophy during the European qualifying draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Zurich, Switzerland, 07 December 2020. EPA-EFE/Kurt Schorrer / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

It follows Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s head of Global Football Development, says he was “100 percent convinced” to the switch.

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Major League Baseball has told a team to stop testing for Coronavirus



A Boston Redsox outfielder said that MLB told his team struggling with COVID-19 to treat symptoms, instead of testing

The Boston Redsox have nine players who have tested positive with coronavirus.

When questioned about the situation on WEEI’s Merloni & Fauria show, Refroe said the league had instructed the team to stop testing for the virus.

“MLB basically told us to stop the testing and just treat the symptoms,” Renfroe said.

“We’re like ‘No. We’re gonna figure out what’s going on and try to keep this thing under control.'”

When the bewildered host asked Renfroe to confirm if Major League Baseball had asked the team to stop testing, he confirmed “yes”.

Major League Baseball quickly released a statement to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe saying Renfroe’s claim was incorrect.

“He (Renfroe) is completely wrong and inaccurate.” the statement said.

The Red Sox are currently missing shortstop Xander Bogart, starters Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez, outfielder Jarren Duran, and closer Matt Barnes because of the outbreak.

The Redsox have released a statement saying they have followed league COVID restrictions, and will continue to test. The team is currently under the 85% vaccinated threshold to ease restrictions imposed by the league.

-By Parker McKenzie

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