With 80% of Japan’s population in doubt that Japan could safely host the Tokyo 2020 Games this year during a pandemic, it felt pretty surreal to watch the Games go ahead. When over 320 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the Olympics, it was a reminder of the human cost involved.
Outside of Japan, opinions were mixed which is to be expected when international viewers are not the ones who have their health at stake. NBC expected to make more than 1.2 billion dollars off their coverage of the Olympics, surpassing the Rio 2016 Olympics.
It's been a bad past couple of months for those of us stuck at home, but the companies who broadcast the shows we watch to escape reality have had a good run. Over 2 million people in Australia watched the Channel 7 Olympic coverage and the opening ceremony was the most watched TV event this year with 3.69 million viewers. From that, we can assume that Seven Network made a buttload of money from the Olympics.
The main factor for this large viewership was 60% of Australians being in lockdown.
The Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky rivalry captured a lot of attention. On track where we don’t do as well, Nicola Mcdermett got silver for high jump and set a new Australian record, while Rohan Browning ran the fastest 100m ever by an Australian at the Olympic Games.
Before the games, we saw the absolute worst opening ceremony ever, with very bad, oftentimes racist commentary from the 2 white Channel 7 presenters. There was also a bizarre note that it was amazing Israel showed up to the Olympics given various “Iraq-related Wars” and the commentators both felt it was appropriate to bring up the Munich 1972 Massacre. When Mali entered, one of them said that a woman in Mali had 9 children, and described the US purchase of the Virgin Islands from Denmark as “a pretty good buy.” The UAE was described as “lots of tall buildings and camels that run fast,” and Palestine as “people who’ve known many troubled times.”
For the most part, the Games went smoothly, Australia did amazingly well and Emma Mckeon usurped Ian Thorpe as the most decorated Australian Olympian.
An Italian man, Lamont Jacobs, was crowned the world’s fastest man, winning the men's 100m sprint. He is now being investigated for doping because he was not tested before competing. He was not tested because testing officials target high performing athletes, Jacobs is not normally good at this event so was ignored.
On the topic of doping, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) debuted after Russia was banned for their state sponsored doping regime. It was a big slap in the face to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because it showed that Russia will use any technicality to keep competing. It is interesting that the IOC banned Russia but has done nothing about China’s identical program, highlighting that athletic integrity at the Olympics is probably heavily influenced by internal politics.
And so after a disease ridden, controversial Olympic Games, we now only have 3 more years until the next. Hopefully the world will be less hellish by then.