An elderly Japanese man has been arriving outside the Olympic Village in Tokyo every morning, while holding the sign that says, “Good morning, athletes! Even if you don’t get a medal, you’re still the best!! So believe in yourself!”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been like any other due to the fact that there are no spectators to cheer on the competing athletes
Yes, this year’s Olympic Games are being hosted with no domestic or foreign spectators after a new state of emergency order was issued by Tokyo officials in July due to increases in new COVID-19 cases there.
Although a handful of venues outside Tokyo have decided to allow some fans in the stands, this is the first time in 125 years that spectators are not part of the world’s largest sports event.
So a 57-year-old Japanese man has decided to take it upon himself to find a straightforward and effective way to motivate the athletes.
He has been arriving around 7am each morning at a street corner near the Olympic Village since the eve of the Games. He stands there and holds up a sign every time a bus transporting Olympic athletes passes by.
“Good morning, athletes! Even if you don’t get a medal, you’re still the best!! So believe in yourself!”
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, stays there for around two hours each day. After that, the office worker goes to work.
According to Time Out Tokyo, he initially started holding up welcome signs but changed his sign to its current supportive message later when he saw people obsessing over the medal count.
The man says that the media coverage of the Games has been too focused on the winners, and only a few athletes can win the medals
“I just want everyone to relax and do their best,” the man said.
“Some athletes react to my placard with a thumbs-up. I feel connected to them and it makes me really happy,” he said, adding that he will be cheering them on until the last day of the Games that is 8 August.