In addition to being postponed by a year, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been steeped in controversy. According to one recent survey, 78% of Japanese citizens thought the Games should be cancelled, owing to concerns about the pandemic. Since then, Japanese media have been shining a spotlight on the fact that not all visiting athletes (including 100 from the United States) are vaccinated against Covid-19. 

On top of these unprecedented public-health concerns are the perennial political issues, such as the common complaint that the Olympics encourage nationalism or chauvinism. Every event produces a showdown over anticipated medal counts between big contenders like the US, China, Japan, Great Britain, and Russia (which is participating in the Tokyo Games as the “Russian Olympic Committee,” following the country’s ban for doping).

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