The Bizarre Spectacle of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Japan is set to lose $20 billion hosting this year’s Olympic games (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Good morning. Yesterday’s quote was Roselle Park municipal court judge Gary Bundy on why he thought it appropriate to abrogate the First Amendment. Today pols flip on tariffs again; Milwaukee takes home the NBA title; Becca Meyers drops out of the Paralympic games; and the Olympics are expensive. Here is today’s quote:

I’ve had to make the gut-wrenching decision to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. I’m angry, I’m disappointed, but most of all, I’m sad to not be representing my country.


Tariffs may be either good or bad for the economy—it’s a discussion we can have. They stymie international trade, which harms American consumers, while keeping jobs here at home, which helps American workers. Lifelong trade protectionists, however, seemed to switch their position after former President Trump—self-styled “Tariff Man”—showed his support for such policies. His supporters, meanwhile, were generally free traders right up until approximately the same time. But now President Biden seeks to implement his carbon-related “border tax”—the new-and-improved, politically correct term for “tariff”—and everyone is back to their familiar positions.


For the first time since 1971, the Milwaukee Bucks brought home the NBA title. They were neither expected to win nor favored, especially after dropping the first two bouts to the Phoenix Suns. But the Bucks pulled it off in an exciting moment for Milwaukee, which saw two shootings and left three wounded in the celebrations. The final score: 105-98.

United States

Pursuant to a Japanese mandate, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee barred aides for our athletes. The problem, we’re told, is that coronavirus restrictions prohibit the assistants from attending the games. That left Becca Meyers, the blind and deaf swimmer who was favored to win this year’s Paralympic games, with no options but to drop out of the event. (Other athletes, it should be noted, were denied similar accommodations.) After having won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, 26-year-old Meyers will have to wait until 2024 for another shot at the record books.


Hosting the Olympic games has never been a profitable endeavor. Even after accounting for increased tourism and consumer spending, there is still not enough left over to cover the cost to local taxpayers. Countries undertake the obligation anyways—competing for the privilege of doing so—because of the prestige and favorable press given to host countries. For Japan, that prestige will cost them $20,000,000,000. And it gets worse: the $2 billion expected to be recouped will be lost forever, since spectators have been barred from the event. Televised games will kick off Friday at 8am CT.

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