It is surely frustrating for the people of Japan to be unable to attend the Summer Olympics, but the first weekend of events showed that the games are just what the world needs right now.

In the lead-up to modern Olympic Games, grousing and complaining have become the norm. Forecasts of traffic snarls, overcrowding, overspending and risks of illness fill the headlines.

The then-emerging COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the Summer Olympics last year. This year, Tokyo proceeded in the face of objections, but prohibited fans from attending because Japan’s population is not yet well vaccinated.

The televised Olympic events are as engaging as ever, but streaming video is allowing viewers to go deeper than standard primetime nationalist-centered coverage where gold medals are everything.

Viewers can watch entire matches of more obscure sports with athletes whose faces aren’t the stuff of effervescent promotions. In the first weekend, viewers saw elite athletes throw themselves into table tennis, badminton, air rifle, women’s softball, beach volleyball, martial arts, fencing and skateboarding.

The sound on streamed post-competition interviews was awful. A muddled translator’s voice made them incomprehensible, but they didn’t need translation. The athletes’ faces communicated all that needed to be said: the sheer joy of competing in one place with the entire world watching.

The message of their smiling faces was the same in any language: Dreams can be realized if they are fueled by hope and optimism. It’s a message that a world in turmoil desperately needed.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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