Only 950 VIPs will attend the opening of the Tokyo Olympics

Journalists accredited at the Games learned about this today during a meeting with representatives of the Organizing Committee in the main press center. A total of 950 people will be admitted to the Olympic Stadium on Friday. These are the officials.

But as every reporter who has ever covered the Games knows, this is simply unrealistic. At each of the main stadiums, where the opening ceremonies took place, an entire tribune was necessarily allocated for VIPs. In the most convenient places, the leaders of foreign states and members of the IOC, headed by the president, then – the heads of the Olympic international federations. Below are representatives of less important sports organizations.

Of course, a special place of honor was given to presidents, prime ministers, ministers from different countries who came to the opening. And it’s even hard to imagine how many guards are around all these people. Once it played a cruel joke on the Americans. When US President George W. Bush honored one of the Games with his presence, his huge security service behaved unceremoniously, practically taking over all security functions. Whoever she wanted was allowed into the main box for the members of the IOC. Well, whoever she didn’t want, after face control she was sent to the ranks much lower. Among those that aroused suspicion was the then Vice-President of the IOC, Thomas Bach. And during the vote in 2009 in Copenhagen for the future host of the Olympic Games, Barack Obama, who replaced Bush, had to pay for it. The Americans claimed the Olympics, Obama was at the peak of popularity in the first years of his rule. And one of my old good friends, members of the IOC, even before the secret ballot, predicted: “You will see, the United States will not receive any Olympics.” And for sure. The American candidacy failed miserably, becoming Obama’s first public failure. After the vote, the IOC veteran explained that many IOC members knew about the ugly incident with Bach and the American guard. And, no, they did not take revenge, but recalled the behavior of the presidential special service during the voting. As a sign of solidarity, as my senior comrade explained to me.

And returning to the Tokyo Olympics, it is completely unclear how the leaders of the countries will sit in the stands, which, for obvious reasons, are now few – only 15. But they do exist. Or what to do with 70 ministers of sports?

Yes, the Tokyo Olympics are unlucky. On July 21 – actually on the eve of the opening of the Games – the chief director of the ceremony, Kentaro Kobayashi, was forced to resign. And here the reason is purely political. It was on these days that a video, shot back in 1998, suddenly surfaced. On it, the 25-year-old comedian Kobayashi invites his duo partner to play the Holocaust. Moreover, even if indirectly, he mocks people who died during the genocide. The statement was made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center fighting Nazism and anti-Semitism. Many Japanese people who saw the old video for the first time expressed their indignation. And 48-year-old Kentaro Kobayashi left, having paid for the shameful sin of his youth. It’s like losing the head coach of a team that reached the final on the eve of a decisive match.

And yet, judging by the trailers seen, the opening will make an impression. We will enjoy this spectacle on television and on the Internet. And we will not at all envy the 950 VIPs watching it live in a huge empty stadium.

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