Yesterday, Olympic organizers announced that spectators would be banned from Tokyo venues for this year's Olympics due to the state of emergency in the host city, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These games have already been delayed for a year. However, 3 cities hosting events outside of Tokyo will host events at 50% capacity. What effect will this have on the participants?

Though many Olympians face little choice but to participate in the games that start in two weeks, some of the biggest names in sports will have choices. It will be interesting to see who doesn't want to be there, if the fans can't be. Already the sports world has made a statement that not having fans makes a difference. According to reports from CNN this morning, tennis star Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from representing Austria in the Tokyo Olympics, saying a ban on spectators attending the Games was a factor behind his decision. One should note that Kyrgios pulled out of his third round match at Wimbledon last week with an abdominal strain, so fans were only part of the equation.

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Then there are the other athletes. The ones that train their entire lives for this moment in time. The hours of early mornings and late nights, eating right, working out, honing your craft. Opportunity doesn't present itself twice for many of these athletes. Fans or not, this is what they live for and if the games are being played, they are
ready to go.

A cool article in yesterday's Albany Times Union by Mark Singelais about local Olympians not really worrying about no fans being there. I found a quote by Rudy Winkler, a hammer-thrower from Averill Park really interesting.
He said, "If anything, it will be a positive...Like in the U.S., we don't really draw crowds in my event so I'm kind of used to competing with no one around. A lot of the Europeans, they've been competing without anyone around because of COVID, too, so they're probably used to it by now. I don't think it'll have a major effect on the competition in the end."

I think Rudy summed it up for most of the Olympians. Now, let's see what the so-called stars do. It's all about what it means to you.

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