The rescheduled Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are set to begin on Friday, despite widespread backlash from Japanese citizens and the country's new state of emergency with COVID-19 cases on the rise.
By pushing forward, spectators won't be allowed at any events. The traditional festive and cosmopolitan environment will also be missing. And with rigorous protocols in place, former NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas is sorry that his fellow colleagues aren't receiving a true Olympics experience.
"I would think my greatest concern if I were there, would just be the stress and the boredom of threading all those needles, and then going through a long period of time that has none of the rewards of being at an Olympics," Costas told the Tiki and Tierney show on Tuesday. "I guess the reward would be, if they do a good job under difficult circumstances, people will appreciate that and what they put on the air will be as good a product as possible, under these conditions.
"But, as you know, being at an Olympics, part of it is, you're wandering around the city or around the countryside. It's something that enriches your sense of the world. That's all out the window now. So, every single one of these people, I'm sure, is like a prisoner in the old New Yorker cartoon and the prisoner is x-ing off the days on the calendar until his sentence is over. I think that's pretty much where our NBC friends are right now."
During a press conference on Tuesday, Tokyo Olympics organizing committee official Toshiro Muto didn't rule out the possibility of cancelling the games at the last minute. This message came a week after IOC president Thomas Bach reportedly said that there's "zero" risk of athletes in the village passing COVID-19 to other residents or Japanese citizens.
The Olympics include 33 competitions and 339 events, held across 17 days. According to updated data from Johns Hopkins, only 22.5-percent of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated, and 71 people accredited for the games have tested positive for COVID-19 in July, per the Associated Press.
The entire Olympics conversation between Costas and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.