Former boxer Anthony Ogogo achieved his dream in 2012 when he competed in the Summer Olympics in his native England, and that once-in-a-lifetime experience is exactly why he believes the Tokyo Games should take place this summer.
“100 million percent the Olympics should happen,” Ogogo told Yahoo Sports. “Athletes have a very small window of being on top and it depends on the sport. For someone to take away your chance of realizing a dream, that’s scandalous and it can never happen. If anyone took away my dream, I’d be hunting that person down for the rest of my life with a balled-up fist.”
Ogogo, who took home a bronze medal as a middleweight nine years ago, cited the ongoing return to normalcy for sporting events across the globe as reason to hold the already-delayed Games.
In the U.S., all four major sports have allowed fans back into the stands and, earlier this month, Canelo Alvarez fought Billy Joe Saunders in front of more than 73,000 fans, the largest crowd at a sporting event since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“How can we have American football, soccer, basketball, all of these events going on with fans in the arena, and then the greatest sporting spectacle in existence doesn’t happen?” Ogogo said. “It has to happen. It’s up to Tokyo to make it COVID-safe and take care of everybody, which is a hell of a mission, I’m sure.
“If no sports were going on and the world was like it was this time last year, then yeah, I get it, maybe don’t do it.”
Japan extends emergency, future of Tokyo Games in limbo
Despite Ogogo’s and other calls for the Olympics to take place, the prospects of that actually happening are growing more uncertain with each passing week. On Friday, Japan opted to extend its state of emergency until June 20, a little more than a month from the Olympics’ proposed start date.
Due to the extended state of emergency, Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, has yet to make a decision on if even local fans will be allowed to attend the games.
Even without fans, the major concern is that the tens of thousands of athletes, judges, officials and media entering Japan for the Games puts the already strained Japanese medical systems at risk. According to the Associated Press, only about 5% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Recent polling data suggests that as much as 80% of Japan want to see the Olympics called off. Despite this, IOC officials, who, according to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, ultimately will make the final decision, have remained steadfast in their commitment to holding the games.
Earlier Friday, Yahoo Sports obtained an updated waiver that all athletes who compete will be required to sign, protecting the IOC and organizers against consequences tied to COVID-19
More from Yahoo Sports: