Amateur | Oct 03 2019

Japan at the Olympic Games

Ahead of the country hosting next year's Olympic Games, Chris Kempson examines how Japan has fared in Olympic competition
Olympic Games
Action Images/Matthew Childs

JAPAN first participated in the summer Olympics in 1912 and has only missed two Games since then. In 1948 they were not invited to participate following their involvement in World War 2 and then in 1980 when they became part of the boycott led by the USA over the Moscow Olympic Games. Japan joined 64 other countries in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. 80 countries did attend however.

As I have said before in columns in Boxing News, to my mind, boycotts rarely achieve anything of significance in sporting events. If anything is achieved in political terms it belongs to the countries themselves. All boycotts do is to deprive competitors of competing on the greatest sporting stage on earth, in many cases the only opportunity some men and women would ever get at becoming an Olympian. So shame on political and sometimes economic dogma in undertaking a boycott; those in charge of such nations seem to have little respect or compassion for those they have denied the chance to compete.

Four years is a long time for any boxer or any competitor, to have to wait until his/ her successor Games come along and many would undoubtedly have won medals had not their mother countries denied them that chance. Boxers and other competitors will having been training and preparing all their adult lives for an Olympic opportunity; just to have it snatched away from them by their political masters. How fair is that? What a shame, let’s have no more boycotts for whatever reason. It may be a pipe dream, but we can always dream, that costs nothing. Sport and politics should remain poles apart, both would be better for this.