By Peter Gleason
On July 24 thousands of athletes will march as scheduled into the national stadium in Tokyo for the opening ceremony of the biggest sporting event on the planet. The Summer Olympics.
While the international sports calendar has been wiped almost clean by the spread of the coronavirus, the organizers of the 2020 Olympics — seemingly unwilling to meddle just yet with years of planning and billions of dollars in television rights and other anticipated revenue — insist the Games can go on.
Yet now, in a showdown over public safety, the organizers are facing a remarkable groundswell of criticism and pushback from their own athletes, fans and national Olympic officials, who are increasingly and unusually vocal in calling for a postponement.
One of the biggest cracks in the usual solidarity behind the Games came Friday when USA Swimming, which governs the sport in the United States and regularly produces stars at the Games like Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel, called for a postponement because of the growing obstacles to training amid practical restrictions imposed by the virus. The following day, USA Track & Field, which along with swimming has produced the most medals for the United States, also requested a delay.