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Serenading the music and events of Tokyo Olympics


SIR: At last, the games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020) have come and gone. After all, the COVID-19 induced delays that saw it held a year later, there is no gainsaying that it still met the razzmatazz associated with the extravaganza. Ranging from controversies, inconsistencies to achievements, it served it all up in its delicious potpourri.

Remarkably, though, most of the events went on with only the competitors and officials in attendance. No thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But notwithstanding, records were still set, met and shattered. So much that what now remains of it are the fading memories of the month-long games.

Most reminiscent of it here in Nigeria is our inability, as always, to make any notable marks in the medal table. As almost always, we made do with a meagre harvest of solitary silver and bronze medals by two ladies in the team. It saw us finishing a distant 75th of the 86 nations that won medals out of the 206 that participated.


However, not unlike the games preceding it, it left a plethora of memories and concerns. Apart from the various winners and losers in the many events it showcased, that is. The first post-Bolt Olympics, it produced a new sprint champion. Just as the Brazilians won their second soccer gold ahead – of us, I dare say.

That apart, here in Nigeria it once more raised some issues. One is the perennial disparity between the officials and athletes that we parade to the games and our eventual haul of medals. Only that this time as many as ten athletes from our contingent could not participate at all for missing off-season drug tests.

Anyway, most prominent in these eddies left by the Tokyo games in the wake of its tide elsewhere are its music themes. Each host nation never lost the opportunity it offered to advertise its musical legacies. Dating back to the birth of the modern Olympics, this has become a routine every host nation ever laboured to meet.

Worthy of mention also is Celio Dion’s rendition of ‘‘The Power of the Dream’’ at the 1996 games in Atlanta where our soccer team captured the ‘‘mother of all gold medals.’’ Composed for the event, her rendition of it on the Olympic podium drove the message home like Jesse Owen’s triumph at 1936 in Berlin.


However, very instructive was the fact that once more an opening ceremony of an Olympic Games featured a performance of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song ‘‘Imagine’’ This time it was performed by John Legend, Keith Urban, Alejandro Sanz, Angelique Kidjo and the Suginami Junior Chorus just ‘‘before doves were released as a symbol of peace.’’

Nevertheless, it did not pass without a backlash this time. Shortly afterwards, Robert Barron, the auxiliary Catholic bishop of Los Angeles took to the New York Post to lambast the effort. According to him, in the op-ed piece published barely two days later, the song is ‘‘an invitation to moral and political chaos.’’

As long as the Olympics are concerned, people must keep competing for countries. Where Lennon’s gospel comes is when we have to kill or die for our respective nations. And this is against the Olympic spirit as well as that of the Catholic Church.
Isidore Emeka Uzoatu, author of the novel, Vision Impossible, wrote in from Onitsha.


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