WOMEN made their first appearance in the Olympics in 1900 with just 22 women taking part. By the time the Games came to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, there were 5,059 women, a 45% participation!
It’s amazing what has been achieved by women in just a century.
So, it really was an Olympic-sized shooting blunder when Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori shot off his mouth with his sexist comments about women talking too much.
It was not funny at all, but it sure was laughable.
And it was no surprise that he faced a battery of criticism over his comment.
After all, we live in an era when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are doing so much to promote gender equality.
The former Prime Minister could not have chosen a worse time to put his foot in his mouth.
Tokyo is now scrambling to save the Games with the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic looming over the heads. All parties are working hard to restore the faith of the people and athletes that the Olympics this July – if it is held at all – will be safe.
It had already been postponed by a year.
Mori’s comments may have thrown a spanner in the works. He has apologised, and it’s only right that everyone forgives and forgets.
There are other important things to deal with, as far as the Olympics are concerned.
Things like whether the athletes need to be vaccinated before the Games, what kind of measures will be taken to run a safe Olympics, and whether there will be spectators and many more.
At least, there is some clarity on the vaccine part.
In a playbook released by the Tokyo Games organisers on Wednesday, which outlines the rules and safety regulations, it has been decided that athletes and officials are not required to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in order to compete.
That means, it has been left to the discretion of the respective nations whether they would like their Olympians vaccinated before the Games.
Although IOC president Thomas Bach has insisted that preference for vaccination should be given to the older people, frontliners and for the people who need it more first, he said that they would still encourage and assist countries to vaccinate their teams ahead of their arrival.
There are things that those attending must do, like download the Japanese government’s contact tracing app that will track every activity they do in the first 14 days in the country.
The athletes and officials can’t use the public transport without permission and they must use the face masks at all times except when eating, sleeping or when in an open outdoor space.
Leaders in every country will now have many decisions to make leading up to the Games and let’s hope they will make good calls.
Do their athletes need the vaccine? When will it be done? In what order? What’s the cost? How do they convey all the new rules to their athletes?
No more gaffes and blunders. No more decisions that will get your blood boiling or spoil one’s peace of mind.
The athletes are already struggling to keep themselves sane without tournaments and proper training – with so many procedures and guidelines that keep changing.
Maybe, more than a vaccine right now, what the athletes need is a dose of confidence, kind words and good support from leaders to help them go through all challenges.
They should just leave the shooting to the Olympics range, not do it with their mouths.
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