The 2020 Olympics officially kick off on Friday in Tokyo. Yes, they’re still being branded as “2020.” The disconnect is, of course, because of pandemic-related delays. And while the games appear to be moving ahead mostly as planned, COVID-19 continues to impact almost everything. Spectators are banned from the games and some athletes have tested positive for the virus.
It’s the first time Dallas Morning News sports reporter Callie Caplan has traveled to cover the games. So far, she’s spent her time in a mandatory three-day quarantine in a hotel room.
“So, very hopeful that tomorrow all the tests that we’ve been doing for COVID are negative and we can get some fresh air and start figuring out what is what outside of this room,” Caplan told Texas Standard.
While she says there are a lot of questions and uncertainty about how things will unfold, Caplan says she doesn’t believe events will be canceled.
“I think, at this point, the cat is way too far out of the bag to try and backtrack on this now,” Caplan said. “By the day, more and more, more people show up and more athletes arrive in the Olympic Village. … But there’s definitely concerns and definitely some ethical dilemmas that might pop up in terms of athletes not being able to participate in their respective events because they test positive or because they’re deemed close contacts.”
She says all of the circumstances surrounding the 2020 Olympics make her job even more important.
“It’s our job to make sure that we’re the eyes and the ears and the everything that we can be for our readers back home,” Caplan said.
That means updates on Spring, Texas,’ Simone Biles, of course. And on Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic. But also on lesser-known athletes.
“That also means that we’re going to be going to events like weightlifting, where there’s a weightlifter, Jourdan Delacruz, from Wylie, who is in contention to win a medal. And we’ll be going to skeet shooting and to wrestling matches and to karate, which is a new sport here. … I think of a diver like Hailey Hernandez, she’s from the South Lake area,” Caplan said.
Caplan’s mandatory quarantine ends Thursday. The opening ceremony is Friday.