Greetings from Tokyo! Twenty five hours after shutting my front door in Dublin, I arrived here at my hotel. One thing is for sure, you wouldn’t be able to fluke your way in here this week. Prior to leaving Dublin, we had to undergo two PCR tests.
On arrival in Tokyo, the procedure from plane to arrivals hall was rigorous, with checks, checks and more checks.
It means I can go out of the hotel for 15 minutes at a time but no longer
I lost count of the amount of paperwork checks before even getting to passport control and the Olympic Games accreditation desk not to mention the antigen test which had to be negative before proceeding any further. This is followed by three days of what is called a soft self-isolation process.
It means I can go out of the hotel for 15 minutes at a time but no longer. Breakfast is left at the door of the hotel room for the first three days and there is strictly no movement around Tokyo.
Food is ordered in via the app of your choice and the only channel in which I can move is from my hotel to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), a massive block which is the broadcast media headquarters for the games.
Tokyo is eight hours ahead so there will be a lot happening even before the morning milking back home
From there we can shuttle around to the various events once they get up and running this weekend. Tokyo is eight hours ahead so there will be a lot happening even before the morning milking back home.
There has been lots of controversy about whether or not this event should be going ahead and all summer, the reports have been that the locals here were ambivalent, to put it mildly, towards this monster event going ahead in the face of rising COVID-19 cases here in a country with such a surprisingly low vaccine roll out. Only time will tell whether it has been wise to proceed.
It is such a pity considering that this is Ireland’s largest ever Olympic team, 116 competitors. For them it is a real shame. Once they are eliminated, they must leave the country within 48 hours. Qualifying for the Olympic Games is the gold medal for the vast majority of athletes. The same goes for Ireland where only a handful has any real chance of a medal.
There is also the lack of fans in stadiums which of course means that athletes will compete without the live support of their family and friends
But competing is only part of the whole Olympic experience. This time round, there will be no sight seeing, no making friends and no cheering on teammates in other events. There is also the lack of fans in stadiums which of course means that athletes will compete without the live support of their family and friends.
There will be some who wonder what the fuss is all about when it comes to the Olympic Games. But all you have to do is visit any of the towns or parishes around Ireland which boasts a member of this Olympic team to realise what it means locally. Ronnie Delaney, John Treacy, Sonia O’Sullivan, Michael Carruth, Katie Taylor and of course the O’Donovan brothers are all we have to mention to remind us of the significance of the Olympic Games. For anybody with even the slightest interest in sport, those medal successes are sporting moments easily recalled. That is all you need to know about the significance and reach of the games.
There have been the scandals too and who knows what stories and drama will unfold over the next fortnight in the sweltering heat and humidity of Tokyo. It is controversial before it even begins.
Remember about 10 years ago, politicians spoke about things “going forward”. It was the go to phrase to sound sophisticated and cool. Well it seems to have been updated now. Listen to all the people now talking about the “direction of travel”.