Mixed Emotions About the 2020 Olympics

At last, the 2020 Olympics are here!

The motto of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is “United by Emotion.” I’m not an athlete, but I do enjoy watching the Olympic Games. But in these pandemic times, I have mixed emotions about them. Most of the time, I feel fine and simply look forward to watching people from around the world showcase their superhuman strength and athletic prowess!

But sometimes I fear for the safety of the athletes and wonder why they didn’t cancel the Games. Other times, I’m disgusted when I’m reminded about the doping violations, sexual abuse allegations, and other scandals and wonder if I’m supporting all of it just by tuning in to watch. My emotions about the Olympics are a mixed bunch of awe, fear, excitement, and happiness.

Emotion: Awe

The first Olympic Games I watched on TV were the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. I was in awe of Team USA’s athletes, like gymnasts, Mary Lou Retton and Mitch Gaylord; track and field athlete, Jackie Joyner, and diver, Greg Louganis!

Years later, in May 1996, I got to see the Olympics torch relay come through Davis, California en route to Atlanta, Georgia, the host city of the 1996 Olympics! I recall the torchbearer jogging by so quickly that I barely got a glimpse of the flame. Nevertheless, it was awesome to witness and share the excitement with the crowd.

Many years after that, in 2011, I was awestruck once again when I got to meet a former Olympian! My family and I went to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco where 1992 Olympic figure skating champion, Kristi Yamaguchi greeted fans and signed copies of her children’s book, “Dream Big, Little Pig!” It’s about a persistent little pig named Poppy who dreams of becoming “a spectacular ice-skating star.”⛸

Emotion: Fear

We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Won’t the Olympics be a super-spreader event? They should have cancelled the Games this year.

Japan declared a state of emergency recently due to the surge in COVID-related infections. In response, organizers said that they wouldn’t allow any spectators, but later changed to say that they would limit spectators to only people in Japan. But, as of this writing, only 20% of people in Japan are fully vaccinated!

Due to world wars, the Olympics weren’t celebrated in 1916, 1940, and 1944. While the pandemic is not a war, it is a global crisis. So why not cancel the 2020 Games, too?

Emotion: Excitement

The Olympic events that I enjoy watching are gymnastics, swimming, and track & field. But I’d have to say that my absolute favorite Olympic event is not even athletic. I’m talking about the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremonies! (In my Pacific Time Zone, I’ll have to tune in at 4 o’clock in the morning on Friday, July 23, 2021 to watch it live!)

What’s not to love about the Parade of Nations? I love the flags! I love watching the artistic program that showcases the host country’s cultural identity and history! I love hearing them announce the countries’ names in three languages: French, English, and the host country’s language.

Why French? French historian and educator, Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894, organized the first games of the modern era in 1896, and made French and English the official languages of the Olympics.

Emotion: Happiness

I look forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris and the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles – two of my favorite places! 🇫🇷🇺🇸


“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

The Olympic Creed

What are your thoughts about the Olympics? Which Olympic events do you enjoy watching? Tell me in the comments below!