“I participate in the Games under my responsibility, accepting the risk of injury and death due to Covid-19, other infectious diseases and conditions of extreme heat”. Welcome to the Tokyo Olympics, minus 50 days from the time when the mixed doubles Elia Viviani-Jessica Rossi will enter the stadium under the flag, not before having signed the discharge of responsibility (for organizers). The form was also present at the previous Olympics: “We do not violate any law, we have only updated it with Covid” simplifies Lana Haddad, chief of operations of the IOC.
They will be dangerous games, the vaccine is highly recommended, which however – inside the hermetic bubble of Tokyo – will not give privileges. “Whoever adapts best to the climate and rules wins” explains the technical director of swimming Cesare Butini, fresh from 52 blue appearances in the final of the European Championships in Budapest. My colleague Antonio La Torre, athletics coach, agrees: “The pandemic could upset all predictions: there are disciplines in which no high-level competitions have been made for a long time and nations, like Africa, where to get out of very hard. In any case, these are the first Games after 5 years from the previous ones ».
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In short, physical fitness will not be enough to win medals in 33 sports, 50 disciplines and 339 events. The latest screening Nielsen Gracenote (April) assigns 33 podiums to Italy, divided as follows: 8 golds, 10 silvers and 15 bronzes. The blue medals in Rio 2016 were 28 (8-12-8), but with a reduced program compared to Japan (306 in 28 sports), the president of Coni Giovanni Malagò (“I dream of Chamizo’s gold in the fight”) asks the Italian delegation (yesterday in Croatia, with the bronze and the Olympic card of Mauro De Filippis the blues qualified for Tokyo have risen to 294, 152 men and 142 women, in 27 disciplines) one more medal than in Brazil. If 33 arrived it would mean placing tenths in the top 10 behind the superpowers the United States (114, 43 golds), China (85, 38 golds), independent athletes from Russia (73, 23 golds), Japan landlord (59, 34 golds) credited by + 40% compared to Rio , to Holland (46, 16 golds) which would almost double the share of Sydney 2000 (25), to France (41, 9 golds), to Australia (40, 12 golds), to Great Britain (36, 11 golds) in clear regression compared to the boom in London 2012 (65) and the record for inertia of Rio (67) and Germany (34, 11 golds).
The strong pieces
Holy fencing and holy swimming
, according to Nielsen Gracenote, with the crazy variable of new karate entries (Luigi Busà) and climbing (Ludovico Fossali), thanks to judo (Manuel Lombardo) e al taekwondo (Vito Dell’Aquila at 17 he was already on the world championship podium), the usual mines: «We come from an all too positive European: the world, with the US giant, is something else – says Butini -. But there is no shortage of cards to play: from the warrior Pilgrims to Paltrinieri in the tank and open water, from Said to Martinenghi, from the very young Pilate in Miressi“. Departure of the swimmers for Tokyo on July 12th, acclimatization to Waseda University as before the Gwangju World Cup, arrival at the village on the 22nd, two days before the heats. And for those who have the races in the first 48 hours, unfortunately, the inauguration ceremony is forbidden: «The risk of wasting time and energy is too high».
La Torre also expects a lot from a hitherto sparkling athletics: «The reduced number of races could lead to excellent chronometric results, because the athletes were less stressed with trips and meetings». But there is an unknown: «We do not know the answers to the lack of public. How will it react Gimbo Tamberi, for whom cheering is the twelfth man? Like Duplantis who made the world auction in the desert? A large stadium with little public is like an empty stadium ». Or, perhaps, even worse.
June 2, 2021 (change June 2, 2021 | 23:33)
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