The Tokyo Olympics have become a big reality show

·1 min read

TOKYO — This year's Games have drifted from the usual mix of sports and drama into reality TV: There are plenty of cameras, no live audience — and even the citizens of Tokyo have to watch on TV.

  • And, like with all reality TV shows, the contestants take the risks and the producers make the money.

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How it works: Like "Survivor," contestants' performance in the on-screen competition is only a part of the adventure. Athletes have had to navigate tons of added rules and procedures to take part in the Games.

  • Also like "Survivor," how well you do in your challenge is only one of the factors that c0uld lead an athlete to get kicked off the island.

Behind the scenes: While the venues were designed for fans, their absence makes giant stadiums feel like overly elaborate sets. And there have been plenty of surreal things beyond the pandemic.

  • A bear wandered onto the softball field in Fukushima an hour before the first game there. And, with softball only just now returning to the Games, maybe loose bears is just what the sport needs to draw bigger crowds. (I love softball, but I am the only reporter on the bus to the stadium in Yokohama as I write this.)

  • At a softball game I attended Saturday in Yokohama, protesters outside Yokohama Baseball Stadium were not just opposed to these Games but the Olympics in general. "Abolish Olympics" read one sign, while another proclaimed: "Olympics kill the poor."

  • Organizers are scrambling to reschedule events due to a potential tropical storm or even typhoon that could hit early this week, with a number of rowing matches moved up to Sunday from Monday.

One nonreality thing: The doves they released at the opening ceremony were made of foam.

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