Japanese Olympic volunteer Ami Endo has dreamed of seeing the Games for years, but despite her overwhelming disappointment at the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic, she is determined to participate in next year’s edition.
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It is a “unique event,” a 19-year-old student told AFP shortly after the Games were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Endo does not even plan to join his comrades to find a summer job next year, determined to volunteer for the postponed Games.
I will gain something that money cannot buy. Across Japan, tens of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of villages and towns have signed up to help or welcome athletes and participants in the Tokyo Olympic. The delay in the Games came as a blow, sometimes after years of preparation and dreams.
Since I was in elementary school, I was hoping that Japan would be a host, who studies public affairs and policy, and said that she had overcome her disappointment by thinking of the many other people who also saw their delayed dreams. Chizuko Yabusaki, 63, was a child when Japan last hosted the Games and remembers watching the 1964 opening ceremony on rare color television. I remember the scene and the excitement very well when we cheered on the marathon runners.
She became an Olympic volunteer in the hope of using her skills in Spanish and Portuguese and reliving her experience as a World Cup volunteer in 2002. There was a feeling of pleasure and a wave of emotions that you could only feel on the ground.
She sympathizes with the decision to delay and said she will participate “permanently” next year, adding that the postponement will give her more time with her grandchildren this summer. In the city of Sagamihara, local officials had spent more than two years preparing to welcome athletes from Brazil and Canada.
Even before the postponement, they were shaken when Canada announced that it would no longer send athletes to the Games this year because of the virus. We believe the National Olympic Committee of Canada made the final decision, putting its athletes first, said Hisashi Kikuchihara, pre-Games director at the city’s planning department. But from our point of view, it was a shame.
The Canadian decision was part of a pressure wave that forced the eventual postponement of the Games, which are now expected to open a year later, on July 23, 2021. Sagamihara officials said they were breathing a sigh of relief. when Canada and Brazil confirmed that they would stick with the city next year. Residents have already rolled out the red carpet for Canadian athletes, including the National Youth Rowing Team, which was greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic locals when they visited the championships last year.
We thought hospitality should start as soon as they arrived, community leader Zenzaburo Miyano told AFP. We were aiming for at least 300 people to line the 150 meters from the public road to the entrance (from their hotel) but more than 400 showed up. It was wonderful, superb. Some locals offered traditional meals to the athletes and even traveled to Tokyo to cheer them on during the competition, including Yoshimi Koike.
He and his wife Kazuyo also welcomed athletes for a meal of nagashi somen, noodles floated on open bamboo flutes filled with water for the guests who caught them with chopsticks. Miyano said the city is relieved to know that athletes will always come to the place next year. I want to show them even more hospitality than last year.
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