July 24, 2021

By Fred Liggett

The moment has finally arrived for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to begin and its 16 day run officially kicks off with the opening ceremony on Jul. 23. The Summer Olympics was originally set for Jul. 24 through Aug. 9, 2020 but in March of 2020 Olympic officials postponed the event for a year. Even though the year is 2021 the 2020 Olympics will keep its original name and last through Sunday, Aug 8.

For Olympic teams, athletes, coaches and event organizer’s everyone is happy to finally be able to have the games and compete for medals. The postponement of the games was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of the virus is still around in the host city of Tokyo. This has led to a lot of talk about whether or not to proceed with the games and if so should any fans be able to attend. As of press time Olympic officials have plans for no fans at any of the events.

The feelings about if the Olympic officials are doing the right thing is a major topic for fans both in Japan and in Lee’s Summit. Yoshi Monna, a former resident of Blue Springs now living in Kawasaki Japan, says “no one is excited.” Monna “feels bad for the athletes.” Monna states this is “a common opinion in the country that the Olympics should have been postponed for a year or two.”

Despite his feelings on the games still being played Monna said, “I am thinking of buying Olympic collectibles.” No worries on looking for him near an Olympic site in Tokyo as Monna only “shops on weekends, most within 10 miles” from his home. Monna, who still is working remotely, rarely visits Tokyo.

Back in Lee’s Summit people are talking about whether the Olympics should be held as scheduled or postponed again. Amanda Nail of Lee’s Summit on the health concerns of the athletes “of course I’m concerned, if right protocols are in place no reason why not compete.” Nail says she “only watches a little bit of the Olympics.” With Lee’s Summit native KC Lightfoot competing in men’s pole vault Nail admits she will be watching more of the coverage saying “be worth checking out, have hometown pride.”

Lee’s Summit HS graduate KC Lightfoot is set to leave for Tokyo on Saturday, Jul. 24. Fans and friends of Lightfoot are eager to see him compete starting on Friday, Jul. 30. NBC will show the pole vault competition starting at 7:40 p.m. These same fans and friends will have to get up early on Tuesday morning Aug. 3 for the pole vault finals starting at 5:20 a.m. NBC Olympics website will stream the event live with taped coverage provide later in the day on the NBC network.

For the next two weeks the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will provide viewers with an array of options to enjoy a number of sports as they watch athletes determined to go for the gold.