Officials in Japan met for an emergency session on Thursday and announced that they will ban spectators at the upcoming games in Tokyo, fifteen days before the event is scheduled to begin. This comes on the heels of a state of emergency being declared in the city due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.
Emergency is never something you want to hear when it comes to a sporting event, and the decision means that athletes will be competing in empty stadiums and venues at the XXXII Olympiad.
As it should be, public safety is being weighed most heavily, and after an alarming increase in variant Covid-19 cases in the country in recent days and weeks, Japanese health officials are responding. Some health experts are concerned that the Olympic Games could serve as a petri dish for variant strains of the virus that has claimed more than 4 million victims worldwide.
For now, the ban affects only those events taking place in Tokyo, where the state of emergency is centralized.
Previously, officials declared that local spectators were allowed up to a certain capacity level. That was an effort to eliminate fans from across the globe descending on the island nation.
What Does This Mean For Olympic Betting?
Since the spectator ban covers only Tokyo, the events that are planned for other parts of Japan could still host spectators. No formal announcement has been made on that issue. Even so, the bulk of competitions will take place in and around Olympic Village in Tokyo, with zero fans allowed to attend.
It’s possible, given the severity of a state of emergency, that some nations or individual athletes may decide to curb their participation in the Games. This could impact the field and the odds in events. As of yet, not marquee athletes have dropped out, but should that happen for popular events like basketball, track and field, and gymnastics, it could drastically alter the medal chances.
Bettors should monitor the participation by countries and athletes, to be aware of who may or may not be taking part in the XXXII Olympic Games. In addition, some sports may be more impacted, like basketball and track events, which will take place completely within Tokyo. Be certain to keep an eye on the odds, which may be shifting more than usual if the field of competition changes.
The state of emergency begins on July 12th and will be in effect for the duration of the Olympics, which are scheduled to conclude on August 8th. This marks the fourth state of emergency in Tokyo since the emergence of the pandemic last year.