10 things that have gone wrong at the Olympics before they've even started
It kind of feels like the Tokyo Olympics are competing for gold in... mistakes
The Tokyo Olympics have been dominating headlines this week ahead of Friday's opening ceremony - but for all the wrong reasons.
Forget about stories of athletic prowess, the excitement of prospective spectators (there aren't any, they're literally not allowed), or even predictions of countries set to win gold.
No, they're all about how the games have stumbled in the starting blocks.
From Covid scares and officials being fired the day before the games to Poland sending six swimmers home because they accidentally invited too many to the games, yes, really. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it doesn't paint a pretty picture.
Ready, set, go:
1. The director of the opening ceremony has been fired - the day before the games begin
Kentaro Kobayashi, the director for Tokyo 2020's opening ceremony, has been fired on the eve of the games due to a Holocaust comment he made as part of an old comedy routine, which recently resurfaced.
Head of the organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, has said of the move: "I offer my deep apology for causing trouble and worry for many people concerned as well as Tokyo residents and Japanese people when the opening ceremony is almost upon us."
2. A Team GB shooter has tested positive for Covid
Hooooo boy, that's not good.
It was revealed on Wednesday that Amber Hill, who is currently ranked number one in the world in the Women's Skeet (shooting), has pulled out of the Olympics due to a positive Covid test.
Hill was a gold medal prospect.
— Steve Scott (@stevescott_itv) July 21, 2021
"After five years of training and preparation, I'm absolutely devastated to say that last night I received a positive Covid-19 test, meaning I've had to withdraw from Team GB's shooting team," Hill said.
"There are no words to describe how I'm feeling right now."
Despite having no symptoms, Hill now has to isolate as per government guidance and therefore cannot compete.
3. Media teams have been banned from showing athletes taking the knee
Also on Wednesday (not a good day for the Olympics, clearly), news emerged that media teams had been told not to post pictures of athletes taking the knee before games.
As reported by The Guardian, an insider shared the information and said it referenced Team GB's recent football match against Chile, in which players were pictured taking the knee before kick-off.
This comes as a surprise to many because the International Olympic Committee recently relaxed Rule 50 - the regulations that previously banned "demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas".
Olympic organisers have insisted that the act of taking the knee is allowed, but have not addressed the instructions to media outlets about picturing it.
4. The Norwegian handball team were fined for refusing to wear bikini bottoms
Nothing helps stir the pot quite like a small pinch of sexism, and this was the case on Tuesday when the Norwegian handball team revealed they would not be wearing bikini bottoms for the Olympic games - an offence they have been fined for.
The team was slapped with a €1,500 fine (£1,295) for "improper clothing" during a match in Bulgaria last week.
It should be noted that they hardly rocked up wearing bootcut denim jeans - they were wearing shorts.
5. Then another Olympian was told her shorts were inappropriately short
You really can't win! Paralympian Olivia Breen, who is a double world champion, was told that her choice of running briefs was "too short and inappropriate" by a female official at Sunday's English Championships.
The athlete said she was left "speechless and outraged" after the comments, which she received straight after completing her long jump event.
She's now concerned about what awaits her in Tokyo.
"I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in. I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised," Breen said on Sunday.
6. Then Poland had to send six swimmers home because they took too many!
Did no one do a headcount before they got on the plane to Tokyo? Come on guys!
Basically, Poland initially picked 23 athletes but had to cut that down to 17 due to the world governing body FINA's qualifying rules.
The Polish Swimming Federation (PSF) has admitted to the mistake and addressed the anger of those who were sent home.
"I express great regret, sadness, and bitterness about the situation," president of the PSF, Pawel Slominski, said.
"Such a situation should not take place, and the reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation is understandable to me and justified."
7. Next, a Paralympian quit because they couldn't meet her accessibility requirements
Heartbroken to share that I’m withdrawing from the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The USOPC has repeatedly denied my reasonable and essential accommodation because of my disability, leaving me no choice. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/p9tKsbPip2
— Becca Meyers (@becca_meyers) July 20, 2021
Becca Myers, who is deaf and partially blind, was due to swim in the Tokyo Games but pulled out after Team USA rules prevented her from taking her care assistant with her.
Myers' care assistant is her mother, who helps her navigate new environments and attends competitions with her regularly. Myers would have instead been asked to rely on the one on-call care assistant, who is shared with 33 other athletes.
8. Oh, the Olympics also forgot to take into account motherhood
This was called out by Spanish athlete and mother Ona Carbonell, who criticised the Tokyo Olympics' restrictive Covid policies which she claimed didn't take into account mothers, as reported by The Daily Mail.
She had been hoping to bring her baby with her to the games so she could continue breastfeeding while also competing in synchronised swimming competitions, but this was not allowed.
9. And who could forget the anti-sex beds...
This has since been debunked (pun intended), but pictures of the Tokyo Olympic athletes' sleeping quarters caused an uproar after it was speculated that the unconventional cardboard beds were designed to prevent Olympians from having sex.
An Irish gymnast took it upon himself to prove the beds are bonk-proof by bouncing on them.
See the video evidence for yourself, below.
Athletes staying at Tokyo’s Olympic Village have been posting images of their ‘cardboard’ beds online. Some speculated that the beds are meant to deter athletes from having sex amid COVID-19, but Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan posted a video jumping on his bed to prove otherwise. pic.twitter.com/qHaLdCndv0
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 19, 2021
AND it turns out the budget-looking beds are so funky looking because they are recyclable, so you really can't argue with that.
10. And, finally, they could still be cancelled!
To top it all off, they haven't even ruled out cancelling the Tokyo Olympics. When asked about scrapping the games because of Covid, Toshiro Muto, head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and hold "discussions" if necessary.
"We will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," Muto told a press conference, according to a BBC report.
"At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."
Not great, is it? The athletes must be tossing and turning the night through in their bouncy cardboard beds.