tokyo 2020 olympics

Faster, higher, older: Pensioners defy virus fears to keep Olympics running

35 Comments
By Peter STEBBINGS

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35 Comments
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"I have been receiving so much from others. I am trying to return what I received from others to these people, to the (Olympic) committee, to the country of Japan."

Beautiful example of paying it forward.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The presence of so many older volunteers is striking because the army of unpaid workers that is a feature of any Olympics usually has a younger age profile.

Wish the same could be said for the people in the JOIC and IOC! THEY should be unpaid "volunteers" as well, doing it for the pride of their country!

17 ( +18 / -1 )

“Here’s” to ALL the IOCLDPJOC’s free, overworked, under-fed and “thankless” labour-force!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Yes, the JOC as ‘volunteers’ Yubaru 7:03am :

- “doing it for the pride of their country!” -

but the IOC have no country, “no pride” yet much profit.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

I take my hat to this generation, they really make Japan what it is. My wife's generation born 1985, I'm not so sure, don't think they would ever do this.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

"I can feel that I am still a member of society and I can still contribute something to society," he said in English, describing his motivations. "I have been receiving so much from others. I am trying to return what I received from others to these people, to the (Olympic) committee, to the country of Japan."

Instead of paying it forward by volunteering for an international sports event that will only enhance the prestige and coffers of a few oligarchs both here and abroad, why not do as many other seniors do and volunteer to assist the less fortunate both here and abroad?

17 ( +20 / -3 )

This is great and shows how the 80% opposed to the Olympics was a myth.

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

Can’t afford to have paid staff? How much of our tax money did this farce cost???? Unbelievable!

12 ( +15 / -3 )

How to say adding insult to injury in Japanese?….

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The presence of so many older volunteers is striking because the army of unpaid workers that is a feature of any Olympics usually has a younger age profile.

Wish the same could be said for the people in the JOIC and IOC! THEY should be unpaid "volunteers" as well, doing it for the pride of their country!"

Well said, or at minimum 50% -80 % pay cut for all the JOC , IOC bigwigs with the money towards the corona response that this sports day exacerbated here.

Can’t afford to have paid staff? How much of our tax money did this farce cost???? Unbelievable!

Indeed...dont thiink the J-taxpayer will ever be told the true cost - you know LDPJOCIOC just dont wanna create "confusion and misunderstanding " for the average Taro.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The IOC makes my blood boil. Gajillions of dollars from donations, licensing rights, and government bidding (allegedly), and they still manage to draw in 70,000+ volunteers to work for free - under brutal conditions - so we can all enjoy the woke sportsballs.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Kobe White Bar OwnerToday 08:14 am JST

Can’t afford to have paid staff? How much of our tax money did this farce cost???? Unbelievable!

Human Trust and other tempstaff companies were advertising for paid staff months before the games (2,500 yen/hour plus bento). The ads didn't mention the Olympics, of course. Heizo Takenaka and his ilk have made a lot of money out of the Games.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Defying virus fears, defying neighbors talking fears.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think the Olympics were very successful,they got drama and international intrigued,You go Japan

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

These elders are setting a great example.

No one is forcing them and no one is taking advantage of them and volunteering for an event like the Olympic games is a great honor for them.

I also think that the IOC should reward them with something, but that's the way it is..

There will always be volunteers for the olympic games anyway..

So cut the drama people..

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

I am 61 years a former retired " Marine Engineer sailor" having visited Tokyo in 1995 and impressed by the city and Japaneses discipline.Happy to note that the 6o+ Japanese citizen is busy in helping the orderly functioning of the Olympic games in Tokyo .Yes, age is just a numerical number provided you have the enthusiasm .

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If I lived in Tokyo, I would have loved too volunteer for Athletics duty like the elderly gentleman in the photo. As a lifelong athletics follower it would have been special to be on the track around all the amazing athletes. Other Volunteering where you didn't see any sports would have been a tougher ask though!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

They have all been vaccinated, good for them. The rest of us are out of luck!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Good on them for taking part, and if it helps, it's win-win for all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm anti-Olympics all the way, but I have to say I admire the spirit of these older folk. Even if it's misguided, they're doing something they feel positive about.

As for that 73 year old guy, that's my kind of person, the kind who realises that age is just a number.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These pensioners belong to Japan”s golden generation.

They never experienced the war and the shortages,they grew up with opportunities due to Japan”s economy booming,they enjoyed lifetime employment with huge bonuses,they lived the majority of their life with little to no consumption tax,they can rest assured that their pension will be paid every month and they will be able to enjoy full healthcare and social services for the rest of their days.

The next generations won’t have it even a third so good.

Little to no pension,government cuts everywhere and an ever increasing tax bill.

Yes,the current group of retirees should give something back for all the good fortune they have had.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Beautiful example of paying it forward.

Yup and after reading some of the comments, I wish some of the posters could display the same sprit.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

For many oldies it's not about money, they are cashed up and happy, so give them a big hand for helping out

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

*Faster, higher, older: Pensioners defy virus fears to keep Olympics running*

Some believe the over-the-top hype, and some get on with life cuz they know what's real.

Good on these folks for not buying into it and doing what is good.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Commodore PerryToday  08:05 am JST

This is great and shows how the 80% opposed to the Olympics was a myth.

It mean nothing if the sort.

What it really means is the younger generation understood they actually have to work in paying jobs to pay the taxes that this $15~30 billion fiasco is costing long long long after these elderly "volunteers" have passed on.

They understood that the only people that will benefit are the rich powerful old guard and wanted nothing to do with the games.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"defy virus fears", what a bunch of heroes. lol The truth is, they are simply aware that only the dying die of covid, they have no fear.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

KentarogaijinToday  08:46 am JST

I also think that the IOC should reward them with something, but that's the way it is..

At least a free bowl of ramen or miniature Olympic mascot of their choice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I admire their spirit, and if they want to volunteer, that's up to them. If it had been even 20 years ago, it would have seemed fitting to say it's fine to run the show on volunteer labour. But the IOC has descended into a money-grubbing, grasping, arrogant monster that puts itself above governments, above the law, above the public interest and the Olympics as they are now need to be brought to an end. The pandemic has exposed just how exploitative their 'volunteer' system has come, and yes, it shows that something stinks if the broadcasters are creaming off fantastic profits, while the grunts at the bottom are working for nothing.

And by the way, they are not all vaccinated. Many of the over-65's will be, but only a small elite section of volunteers were offered fast-track vaccination. The vast majority were left to sort it out with the rest of us, and just given a vial of sanitiser and two masks. Even the professional drivers were given no help to get vaccinated, unless their company had a programme that got them jabbed in time to work on the Games.

These tens of thousands of volunteers are also moving all over the place, in Tokyo and in camps around the country, commuting between home and venues, potentially carrying the virus into and out of the bubble. Whether they have 'fears' or not doesn't matter, all this movement of people presents a risk to all of us, based here, or coming in for the Games.

Back to volunteering, there are so many fantastic ways to pay it forward, or back, or sideways or whichever way you like. You don't need to wait 50 years to do it. Volunteerism is slowly growing here, since the Kobe earthquake, and specially since 3/11. It may not have a sports theme or remind anyone of their old mother, but you can be sure it will give meaning to life, and make a difference to many. Also, many of this generation maybe miss the greater sense of community they grew up with. Volunteering is a great way to recreate that. And they can have a million pointless meetings and create complicated systems for simple things to their hearts' content. And in times of corona, it's good if they do this instead of going to the doctor because they feel lonely and want to get out of the house.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pierre LeVenerableToday  11:54 am JST

"defy virus fears", what a bunch of heroes. lol The truth is, they are simply aware that only the dying die of covid, they have no fear.

No it means like most elderly and Olympic workers/volunteers they got their Vaccine before the rest of us a fact conveniently left out if the article.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's funny isn't it, we have this happy clappy story, while JT is not carrying the big story of the last 24 hours, of how the government has announced it is basically withdrawing medical care from 'mild' and 'moderate' covid patients, leaving them to suffer at home without proper backup.

If someone can prove definitively that this is connected to the games, they should tell Bach about it.

Not that he'll care, but at least he'll know that the colossal amount of money he is presumably going to make from these games has a human cost.

Anyway, they'd better not die at home and thus add to the daily figures. It would ruin the narrative of our Japan cheerleaders when the daily figures thread rolls around.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Elderly Japanese people take pride in their country and typically keep fairly active into old age. It’s a beautiful thing compared to all the jaded expat English teachers in these comment threads. ; )

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Volunteerism is slowly growing here, since the Kobe earthquake, and specially since 3/11

The situation around this is full of cultural relativism. What is especially increasing is the use of the katakana word "volunteer", usually for high-profile things like the Olympics and disaster relief. Every Japanese festival, most sports clubs, and most community activities are run by volunteers. Most of inaka has volunteer fire brigades. I cut the grass, pick up garbage, and help at festivals in my community about fifteen times a year. I am not paid for any of it, but in Japan, none of this qualifies as "volunteering". It's just what you are expected to do as a community member, even if some people never turn up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I tear up thinking about how I will probably have to work full time until I am 90! My best Olympic memory is when the US hockey team beat Russia for the gold back in the 80's.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My best Olympic memory is when the US hockey team beat Russia for the gold back in the 80's.

My best Olympic memory was driving around Montreal meeting all the pretty tourists from around the world.

My worst Olympic memory is when I realised that we were going to be paying off the Olympic debt with higher taxes and a special Olympic debt tax for 30 years.

A very high price for a few days of enjoyment.

Here we aren't even getting the benefit of tourist or any other enjoyment, just $15~30 billion in debt our grandchildren will still be paying off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hats off. Age is just a number to those innumerable volunteers from the Land of the Rising Sun. "Of the 71,000 volunteers at the Olympics and Paralympics, nearly 15,000 are aged 60 or over, according to organizers. There are 139 people in their 80s and even three in their 90s."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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