Olympic contestants will experience joy and tragedy, glory and grief. However, the pandemic-era Games in Tokyo next month will go down in history as the most joyless of all time, with competitors quarantined and cheering prohibited.
Japan's government has substantially expedited its delayed immunization campaign in recent weeks. The likelihood that at least some domestic viewers will be able to attend events is increasing.
However, it looks that this enlightenment has arrived too late to change the lockdown situation. While other developed countries are beginning to return to normalcy following the pandemic, Tokyo remains in a state of emergency.
Instead of looking forward to the July 23 opening ceremony, Japan is embroiled in blame, recriminations, and laments that things didn't have to be this way.
Some blame former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who lobbied for a one-year postponement of the Olympics last summer, betting that vaccines would be readily available in Japan and he would still be in office. Last year, he was forced to quit owing to health issues.
More complaints have been lodged against the International Olympic Committee for steadfastly pursuing the Games despite considerable public opposition in Japan, including medical professionals' calls to cancel the Games.