Beyond the News - FACT Analysis

A different kind of Olympic experience

Harjap Singh  Aujla

Held between the 23rd of July and the 8th of August, 2021, the Tokyo Olympics were totally different from all other experiences of worldwide sports extravaganzas. The name of this Olympic edition was Summer Olympics 2020, but the actual dates fell in 2021. In announcements, they mentioned 2020. This is the first time such a thing has happened. Olympic Games were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the World War First and World War Second. Those were extraordinary times, no games could be held during the most destructive bombardment and when some of the independent countries were brutally annexed by the invading countries.

This time around, there was no active war. There were no axis and no allied forces. The enemy was a deadly virus unseen in history. The world had seen another pandemic exactly hundred years ago, perhaps more people perished during that killer flu, but this time the world was more aware, better informed and a lot more panicked. Even a nation like Japan was forced to take a harsh decision of postponing the Olympiad, but the pandemic forced Japan to ban the inflow of spectators, so no rowdy spectators were seen in the stands and no hot-dogs, no hamburgers and no pizza was on offer. Even the Chinese fried rice and noodles were virtually absent from the venues of sporting events. The United States has no dearth of merry makers, who believe in the principle of eat drink and be merry– those high spenders were disallowed. This meant mounting fiscal losses for the organizing nation. But the games were held on time and finished on time.

The Chinese nearly broke the Olympic supremacy of the United States of America, they could not edge the USA out of the number one position by a solitary gold medal, although in overall count the USA was way ahead of China. China was assisted in their fight for supremacy by a tiny Caribbean nation of Jamaica, who stole all the sprint gold medals from the United States. The Japanese prepared hard for tthe games and their years of hard toil paid off. They finished in worthy third place. For the size of their country and their population, these determined athletes were the de-facto champions.

For India, in spite of their chronic malnutrition and poor eating habits, which are impossible to change, the medal haul was the highest ever. The London Olympics gave India a total of six medals, which was a record haul. But Neeraj Chopra delivered an elusive gold medal in athletics too to make it a haul of seven medals. India had one gold, two silvers and four bronze medals in its kitty this time. This is the highest medal count, India has ever achieved. Congratulations to all Indians. After forty one years of silence, our national anthem reverberated in the Olympics, which fills every heart with pride. Here I must mention one narrow loss. This was by our female entry in the women’s gold Aditi Ashok. She put up a brave fight before losing the bronze medal by a solitary point.  Now the lightsof the Olympic flame will be extinguished and after three years let us hope there will be normal Olympic Games in the beautiful historic old city of Paris. The closing ceremonies are always better than their previous ones.

  (harjapaujla@gmail.com)   

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