Naomi Osaka Questions If 2021 Tokyo Olympics Should Happen If People Are at Risk

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2021

People wearing a face mask walk by the Olympic rings outside Japan Olympic Museum near National Stadium, where opening ceremony and many other events are planned for postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka raised concern about the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Of course I would say I want the Olympics to happen, because I'm an athlete and that's sort of what I've been waiting for my entire life," she said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "But I think that there's so much important stuff going on, and especially the past year. I think a lot of unexpected things have happened and if it's putting people at risk, and if it's making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now."

The 2020 Games were already postponed one year, and the Opening Ceremony is set to take place July 23.

Head of the Tokyo organizing committee Seiko Hashimoto said in April they "are not thinking about canceling the Games."

There has been significant opposition to the Olympics going forward as scheduled, with more than 300,000 people signing a petition for the Games to be canceled this week, per Stephen Wade and Yuri Kageyama of the Associated Press.

About 72 percent of people in Japan said in a survey last month the Olympics should either be postponed or canceled, via the Kyodo News.

Osaka seemingly has her doubts, although she said she has gotten vaccinated.

The 23-year-old is currently the No. 2 player in the world rankings and would be a top contender for the gold medal in the country where she was born. She didn't qualify for the 2016 Olympics, which could make the upcoming Games even more important for the young star with four Grand Slam titles already on her resume.


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