Sumary of Tokyo 2020 on a knife edge as rumours spread as quickly as Covid:
- Athletes and journalists increasingly fear their Games could end with a ping on their phone and a 14-day spell in quarantine.
- And when Toshiro Muto, head of the Tokyo organising committee, was asked on Tuesday whether the Games could yet be cancelled, his vague reply became interpreted as a hint the Olympics could yet be in peril at the 11th hour.
- But the episode was entirely in keeping with these flit and flustered Games, where rumours spread as quickly as the virus.
- One Japanese journalist in the media centre on Tuesday told the Guardian that she had detected a change in recent days: from outright hostility to the tens of thousands of people arriving for the Olympics to a sense of “sadness” that they would be held without spectators.
- It was perhaps also notable that Bach, speaking at the IOC Session in Tokyo, tried to soften the perception of his organisation, which has been seen as ramming through these Games on an unwilling Japanese public.
- Some long-term IOC‑ologists also detected he was on a charm offensive.
- Such concerns are voiced publicly by Michael Payne, a former senior marketing executive at the IOC for nearly two decades and an influential insider.
- ”Payne also questions whether the Olympics has become the perfect punching bag for Japanese politicians with an election looming.