After weeks of waiting and controversy, the IOC made a choice of common sense. In a year we will be there and also Federica Pellegrini and Alex Zanardi, together with those who love sports
For weeks, phalanxes of organizers, bureaucrats equipped with the best intentions and many, too many armed subjects of the worst, have fooled themselves with the illusion of bringing together thousands of athletes and millions of spectators all together in the Japanese metropolis around the sacred brazier, as if humanity had not fallen into the well of a pandemic whose bottom still does not see. The pressing of the World Health Organization, even before common sense, put an end to madness. Champions and important executives have powerfully contributed to the decision to place health first, ethics second and third, leaving the business off the podium. Gazza, who also looks at this postponement with much pain, thanks them.
It took a war, another world conflict – and the fight against coronavirus is the world’s first real war against an alien – to stop the Olympics. It had happened only twice before: in 1916 in the midst of the useless massacre of the trenches, and in 1940 (of course also in ’44) when the honor of hospitality would have touched Tokyo, always her, it seems destiny. Roosevelt vetoed and he was right: a year later America would experience the Pearl Harbor storm. The only games in that fatal year were held at Stalag thirteen Langwasser, a camp near Nuremberg: British, French, Belgian, Norwegian and Polish internees participated in the Olympics of prisoners of war. Everyone won. Sport in its worst rhetoric carries the vice of self-reference. He loves to represent himself as an island outside of history, while he is right in the middle of the current. An Eden in which the apple, the fruit of life, is kept away from temptations. In any case, a territory with its laws, as shown by the incredible, sometimes shameful contortions of the world of football that we have been witnessing for weeks: open doors, closed doors, slammed doors, training yes, training no, swabs at the end (which frontline doctors are missing). Many, not all fortunately, go after their profit while paradigms change out there, values align on a new scale and life itself takes on the variable of the unknown.
Yesterday, on these columns, Walter Veltroni wrote that the sports watch, with its certain and established appointments, is the reassuring metronome of our normalcy. In ancient Greece, almost three thousand years ago, the temple of Jupiter dominated the center of Olympia, sport and divine were all one, and history measured its annals over the four years of the Games: during the era of the first Olympiad it happened that … But now it’s as if a powerful hand has planted a nail on the face of that watch. And for us barricaded in the house time becomes suspended, liquid, dilated in an uncertain horizon.
Who are we today? And how will we be after? So many champions are asking if they now have to keep fit for a year and a half, while the field of rivals changes in an unpredictable way. A truly Olympic effort is required above all to the most charismatic and full of glory. Federica Pellegrini, 31 years old, and Alex Zanardi, 53, are the standard bearers of our sport and do not give up. From the front page of the Gazzetta they shout: “We will be there”. Don’t worry: we will be there too. And you will be there, passionate readers. Hopefully the appointment is with a new and better world of sport. In spite of everything, everything will be fine. If we have learned the lesson.
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