(File photo)

Editorial: Olympics the chance for all of us to share in success

Why? Because we love to watch them and dream

The Olympics should continue.

Why? Because we love to watch them and dream.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on right now were understandably mired in controversy. Were they going to go ahead last summer as planned as the pandemic exploded? If not, were they going to be cancelled (as the Games have been in the past when something like a World War intruded) or merely postponed? We know the answers to those questions, of course, as we watch Canada’s summer sports stars compete for medals and personal bests. Even up until the last minute there were questions about whether or not the Games we’re currently enjoying should go ahead amidst COVID surges in many countries, including the host Japan, where only a small proportion of the population is vaccinated.

It is likely that only history will tell us whether the right decision was made to go ahead.

But the questions about cancellation of the 2020 Olympics also brought the chorus of those who think the Games have outlived their usefulness and should just be cancelled for good. There are certainly arguments to be made. First, hosting the Games has become increasingly expensive, with the venue building requirements alone so onerous as to make even the most spendthrift balk. Nations and cities that wish to bid must consider this as they balance it against the prestige, exposure and future tourism potential that comes from hosting the event. It’s small wonder that those even interested has dwindled of late.

Then there are those who complain that all of the athletes are probably on performance enhancing drugs anyway, so it’s not a real sporting competition anymore. Call us naive, but we prefer not to believe this. Yes, there are some who are found to be drug cheats, but we think most of the athletes are optimizing their natural abilities.

Others think that rather than bringing the world together in our mutual love of sport, they’ve become hyper-partisan, hyper-national. For some, perhaps, the flag one flies is the only thing, but we think most who watch can thoroughly enjoy the accomplishments of a wide range of athletes. Who didn’t love watching the swimmer from Tunisia surprise the field with a win from lane eight?

You see, we think most watch in awe at the incredible athletic performances. Most watch, and dream. Especially our youth who may indeed one day stand atop the podium.

So while things like the expense and the performance enhancers do need to be addressed, let’s not throw this baby out with the bathwater. Let’s not throw away our chance every two years to feel pride in our athletes, as they share their accomplishments with us all.

Cowichan Valley Citizen