Anyone who was up before the sun here Friday to watch the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics — or who viewed it rebroadcast in prime time — took in something entertaining and, frankly, troubling.
Host city Tokyo is under a state of emergency. Kicking off a Games without fans in attendance, the opening ceremony unfolded before a largely empty Olympic Stadium and with many fewer athletes than usual taking part in the Parade of Nations.
The Games — and the pandemic — go on.
In this week’s “Polling Place” — your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter — we asked respondents how into these Games they are.
“The city is on quarantine watch!” @JBIRD1268 commented.
“The Olympics started?” @shupe_dog asked, facetiously, we suppose.
We also asked about favorite sports in the Summer Games.
“I voted for swimming,” @DadsThumb wrote, “but it’s really a tie between gymnastics and swimming. I like the extreme objectivity of swimming, but the difficulty and breathtaking nature of gymnastics skills makes it compelling to watch.”
On to the polls:
Poll No. 1: How much are the Tokyo Olympics, which started this week, on your radar?
Time again for our weekly “Polling Place” questions. Let us hear from you! Selected comments will appear in Saturday's paper.— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) July 22, 2021
Q1: How much are the Tokyo Olympics, which started this week, on your radar?
Upshot: Many Japanese are strongly opposed to the holding of the 2020 Games, delayed a year due to COVID-19, as the country lags behind much of the world in vaccination rates. Whether or not that unpleasant backdrop played into the results of this poll — one assumes it did to some extent — the vote was markedly unenthusiastic. Then again, we haven’t had any American athletes to fall in love with yet.
Poll No. 2: Which of these Summer Olympic sports is your favorite to watch?
Upshot: Few things in sports can match the excitement, the pressure, the sheer weight of the moment as a frenzied reach for the wall, a crowded kick to the finish line or an absolutely must-have dismount. And many of these athletes are so young — babies, practically — with golden dreams tangled in such vulnerability. We see ourselves in them, don’t we? Or our kids and grandkids. It can be beautiful. (Please, nobody mention doping.)
Poll No. 3: In general, are you more of a Summer Olympics fan or a Winter Olympics fan?
Upshot: “Winter is 100 times better,” wrote @StacheEsq, but that doesn’t seem to be a common take at all. Summer is when we’ve gotten to know more national heroes, for sure: Jesse Owens, Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Greg Louganis, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and many more. On the other hand: no hockey. It’s hard to top Olympic pucks.