It feels weird to have the Olympics going on right now. It would have felt even weirder to have the Olympics that were regularly scheduled last year in Tokyo. The Olympics have no fans in the stands, a COVID-19 pandemic that the world can’t seem to get rid of, and for many, a loss of an appetite for all of the politics that surround these events every four years. I’m obviously a sports fan. I’m also a fan of different cultures, countries and backgrounds, and that’s why I'm watching the 2020, technically 2021, Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Personally, I’m more of a fan of the Winter Olympics. Now that might just be from having spent my life in places with brutally cold and snowy winters in the Midwest, but I digress. At any rate, for a couple weeks we are able to watch some of the greatest athletes from around the world participate against each other in a variety of events. Some of those events we’re not able to watch on TV regularly, and I think that makes it even cooler. I’m inspired when I think about athletes in many of the sports who train day after day for years for an opportunity to represent their country in the Olympics only once every four years.

I love baseball, I love basketball, but these are sports I can and do watch as often as I can. Summer sports like badminton, swimming, handball, rugby and winter sports like curling and bobsled are awesome and are part of what make the Olympics exciting. These are people from all walks of life, from all different places around the world playing a variety of different sports that we only have an opportunity to witness once every four years, and I think that makes Olympic viewing unique and special.

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel a little bit less enthusiastic about these Olympics. I think we can all agree that watching sports without fans in the stands is less enjoyable. While I get less enjoyment watching sports without fans, I take solace knowing that there is a better chance that fewer people will get sick if thousands of spectators don’t gather around each other for hours on end.

While I hope someday I have an opportunity to cover the Olympics (and the World Cup) or just attend one as a fan and an avid traveler, you couldn’t pay me enough to attend these Olympics with no crowds and a very problematic Delta variant roaming around. But when I have the time within the next couple weeks, I will watch some of the greatest, most fit athletes in the world compete at the highest level.

— Devlin can be reached at travis@athensnews-courier.com

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