Tokyo Olympics Not Being There

A pandemic Olympics, without all the crowds: What gets lost?

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Any sporting event is, at its heart, a show. It has the actors on center stage, performing for the rest of us. It has the spectators, sitting in their seats watching raptly. And — in modern times, at least — it has the “home” audience, which in the past half… Read


Congress moves to reclaim its war powers


In mid-July 2021, a bipartisan and ideologically diverse group of senators proposed a new bill that, if passed, would dramatically shift the relative amount of power the president and Congress have over U.S. military operations. Whether this bill passes as is, or with significant changes, or not at all, its… Read


Fight for control threatens to destabilize and fragment the internet


You try to use your credit card, but it doesn’t work. In fact, no one’s credit card works. You try to go to some news sites to find out why, but you can’t access any of those, either. Neither can anyone else. Panic-buying ensues. People empty ATMs of cash. This… Read


We are all propagandists now


The U.S. is in an information war with itself. The public sphere, where Americans discuss public issues, is broken. There’s little discussion – and lots of fighting. One reason why: Persuasion is difficult, slow and time-consuming – it doesn’t make good television or social media content – and so there… Read


For Biles, it finally all becomes too much


Finally, it all became too much. Simone Biles felt it hours before she took the floor in Tokyo, a nervousness she couldn't explain as she waited to deliver what everyone except her was sure would be a gold medal for the U.S. women's gymnastics team. "I was just like shaking,… Read


Tokyo Olympics: A success? A failure? How to judge?


Will it be a success? A failure? Or none of the above? It will take something much more nuanced than those basic notions to assess the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics when they wrap up in two weeks. The response will be twisted by dozens of parties with their own interests. There's… Read


French sports minister seeks Olympic renewal in 2024


Dropping into mostly-empty venues, where only athletes provide the sporting soul and spirit, French sports minister Jean-Michel Blanquer observed the type of Olympics the world will be yearning to leave behind. There’s only three years until Paris gets its turn to host the Games. “We are in such a special… Read


The next big financial crisis could be triggered by climate change


In 2008, as big banks began failing across Wall Street and the housing and stock markets crashed, the nation saw how crucial financial regulation is for economic stability – and how quickly the consequences can cascade through the economy when regulators are asleep at the wheel. Today, there’s another looming… Read


Tokyo Aquatics Centre symbol of poor planning, gluttonous spending and unfortunate timing


The aquatics arena near Tokyo Bay is an impressive structure indeed, the shimmering blue water of its two pools surrounded on three sides by towering rows of seats that, in a normal Olympic year, would've been packed with some 15,000 boisterous fans. Of course, there is nothing normal about these… Read


Olympic Games, Tokyo-style: The pandemic era, in miniature


Ghostly airports, devoid of bustle. Cavernous arenas where no crowds will roar. Stringent rules that are spottily enforced — and spottily ignored. Complaints over restrictions, including comparisons to Nazi Germany. Worries about outsiders causing superspreader events. And a general unease that life as we know it is upside down. The… Read

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