Matt Barnes’ Olympics 2020 blog: Pulling off Games during pandemic a true balancing act

Japan 2020

TOKYO (WCMH) — It’s been more than a year since the International Olympic Committee decided to make the difficult decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games. And now, at least here in Tokyo as I write this, the Olympic flame will be lit today. We’ve come a long way, everyone.

And yet, there’s still a long way to go. Today in Tokyo, they reported more than 1,900 positive COVID-19 cases, the most in 6 months. And we are still hearing about positive cases coming out of the Olympic Village. No matter how hard we try to put our focus on just the athletes and the competitions, you can’t. The pandemic is still happening, and trying to balance managing it as well as holding this worldwide event is delicate. In my opinion, Tokyo is doing a fantastic job of doing it, but that’s not the opinion of those who live here.

I’ve now talked to numerous people who live here who have all said these Games shouldn’t happen. Or at least that the fact they are seems counterproductive to trying to rid this country of the coronavirus. And they have a point. At the same time, I see the people we encounter everyday going above and beyond to make sure we are adhering to the protocols set forth by the government and Olympic organizers while also being kind, respectful and helpful. I thank each and every one of them for making me feel safe and comfortable.

Today was a true work day. Just plugging away, knocking out stories. We did enjoy another trip to the NBC commissary, which has fantastic meal options. I’ll make sure and take some pictures tomorrow. I also made sure I grabbed another picture with the buckeye. If you haven’t followed my pictures with the buckeye, I hope you do. It needs a name, but I can’t think of a good one. And no, I’m not calling it Brutus.

I have zero information about the Opening Ceremony. Seriously, not one hint or tease. They are being very tightlipped about it, and that’s OK with me. I’m looking forward to seeing what Japan has in store for the world. My guess is they will share an uplifting message, one of unity and hope. It’s what the world needs right now. Tokyo has had its challenges lately in putting these Games together but I do think the Opening Ceremony will be the crown jewel of these Games.

Hope you’ll be watching it LIVE in the morning starting 6:55 a.m. on NBC4. But before then, I’ll see you bright and early for NBC4 Today with live shots from Tokyo!

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