No, not all roads led to Tokyo on Friday. But all eyes literally followed the inauguration of the greatest show on Earth, as the Olympics is dubbed. Why all roads could not lead to the Tokyo Olympic Stadium hardly needs an explanation at a time when the coronavirus pandemic cast a shadow of uncertainty over its holding at all. This four-year event was scheduled to be held in 2020 and still bears the mark on its title Tokyo Olympics 2020. Against overwhelming odds and in defiance of the Covid-19 positivity tests by 100 people, including athletes, linked to the Olympics, the inauguration of the greatest sporting event finally took place. However, the chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee Toshiro Muto did not rule out cancelling the games if there was an abnormal surge in cases. No wonder as a cautionary measure, the inauguration had to be completed in presence of only 1,000 people in a stadium with a crowd capacity of 68,089.
Fortunately, the show has not come to an abrupt endl; it is on. Only those sportsmen and sportswomen who have tested positive and others who came in contact with them have to become witness to their shattered dreams. After all, sportspersons undergo rigorous training and follow health and diet regimes as part of their preparation for the competition. It is the ultimate test of human talent, endurance, skill and motivation for success. Pitted against the world's best in their respective disciplines, they have to prove their mettle, the level of their excellence at the crucial moment. They chant the mantra 'faster, higher and stronger' to achieve what is achievable for the finite human body. No doubt, the games involve human physique but all sports and games are a mind game too.
It is exactly why, the Olympics serves as a tonic for the people around the world. Primarily, it looks like a welcome diversion from the psychological morbidity, tension and anxiety the unrelenting pathogen has heaped on the global population. When the athletes achieve extraordinary feats, even common people find it extremely gratifying because it is inspirational and encouraging to overcome obstacles. At a time of hopelessness, therefore, the holding of the summer Olympics comes as a psychological boost. Its positive message is unerring: the soaring human spirit is invincible and does not surrender to any adversity let alone a rampaging virus. After all, man will conquer all impediments and prevail over the tiny enemy.
This hope gets further amplified by the fact that the Paralympics (August 24-Sept 5) which follows the Olympics in progress celebrates once again the ultimate capability of the physically challenged. With 33 sports providing for 333 medal events, Tokyo is the biggest Olympic programme to date. If the Olympics and Paralympics can be arranged smoothly, the shining achievements will celebrate in no uncertain terms the undying spirit of the human kind. Faster, higher and stronger, they together make possible what appears to be unlikely and impossible. The lesson for this species at the top of the order, therefore, is to stand together and meet the challenges thrown by the pandemic.