In the way of current society, there are times to lighten the mood–rest assured, there are heavy subjects in store, but at the same time, levity is required to keep up the fight. Thus, consider the Olympics–no, not all the negativity that flooded the newsfeeds, but consider the Olympics and Paralympics as events by themselves. Cities compete with each other to host the Games not because they enjoy the expenditures, but because they enjoy the publicity. One of the most enjoyable traits of Japan was the number of trees that were everywhere. In a world filled with climate change, people rarely see examples of how cities would look if there were trees in an urban space. Thanks to Tokyo hosting the Olympics, we can see that even though the temperatures were extremely hot for what people were used to, the city residents and athletes remained able to adjust because of how trees help keep the weather in check as much as possible.
Also, there is quite a big of pageantry surrounding the Games, whether with flags, traditional dress, or music. Throughout the entire festivities, however, technology was everywhere. Yes, Japan has a reputation for having amazing technology, but between the trees and the traditionalism, the Games were a wonderful opportunity to see that culture does not have to be sacrificed in the name of technology. Just like when Atlanta hosted the Games in 1996–another tree-filled city–residents continued about their lives, and there were a number of music festivals that went on while people saw great athletic feats. Before someone remarks on the pandemic, which should never be forgotten, remember that Japan has been extremely aggressive about COVID-19 prevention, and there are neighborhoods in the United States that have more cases than during both the Olympics and the Paralympics.
Since I brought it up, healthcare is one of the major reasons why any city could host the Olympics, and Japan has nationalized healthcare. During both events, people were strict and firm about abiding by COVID-19 guidelines, to the point of excusing people who thought they would go their own ways. While the United States won quite a few medals, both the second and third ranking countries had national healthcare for the Olympics, but the first and second ranking countries of the Paralympics had nationalized healthcare. It is simply fact that when one does not have to “grit” one’s way through basic necessities, it is easier to achieve one’s potential. How many athletes, artists, coaches, trainers, and referees are missing their opportunities in the United States because we demand that everyone…”grit” their way to success? We know that relaxed people have better focus and drive, and we know that people enjoy sports. Therefore, I would submit the Olympic Games–and other sports events, really–as a reason to nationalize our healthcare. After all, a country that confuses “grit” for financial catastrophe might see itself slipping among the ranks as everyone else matures to decent living standards.