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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were delayed for one year because of COVID-19. The Olympics have only ever been cancelled during World War I and World War II and 2020 was the first time the Olympics had been delayed. It is now looking like the 2020 Olympics will not be able to take place in 2021 either. If the event doesn’t take place in 2021, then it will be cancelled completely. The Olympic committee said they can’t delay it again because of the different agreements that they have in place. It is also thought that they don’t want to delay it again because they don’t want to affect the 2024 Paris Olympics.

There is doubt that it will happen because the situation with COVID-19 has not become much better. Countries are starting to vaccinate their people but this will take a long time. One of the organisers of the 2012 London Olympics has said that the Tokyo Olympics will be impossible and that the organisers will need to cancel it soon. The Olympics start in July and it doesn’t look like countries will be ready to send their athletes. Many countries are not allowing international travel right now. Japan hasn’t even started vaccinating its own people. Countries that started vaccinating people in December don’t think they will be finished until after the Olympics are supposed to happen.

The Olympics have had another setback while trying to organise the event. The leader of the committee for organising the Tokyo Olympics was forced to resign. He made sexist comments against women that caused a lot of anger in Japan and around the world. He said that women do not stop talking in meetings and that there shouldn’t be too many women in the workplace. Many people were offended by his comments, especially because the Olympics are supposed to be inclusive. He eventually resigned as the leader but only after a lot of pressure. He said at first that he would not resign. He was replaced by a woman. She was the Olympics Minister in Japan and she is a former Olympic athlete. She will now have to organise the Olympics even though the event may not go ahead.

Difficult Words

Doubt (v): To feel uncertain about something.

Setback (n): A problem that hurts your progress.

Resign (v): To quit your job or position.

Sexist (adj): Think negatively of others because they are a man or woman.

Offended (adj): Feeling upset or annoyed at what someone said or did.

Inclusive (adj): To purposely include as many different kinds of people as possible.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Doubt A. Quit
 2. Setback B. Upset
 3. Resign C. Problem
 4. Offended D. Include
 5. Inclusive E. Uncertain

True or False?

1. The Olympics have never been cancelled before. T / F

2. The Olympics will definitely take place in Tokyo in 2021. T / F

3. The Tokyo Olympics will be cancelled if it does not take place in 2021. T / F

4. It will take a long time for countries to vaccinate their people. T / F

5. Japan started vaccinating people in December 2020. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. it / they / committee / The / Olympic / delay / said / again / can’t

2. will / that / doubt / There / is / happen / it

3. people / starting / Countries / are / their / vaccinate / to

4. allowing / countries / not / travel / international / Many / are

5. another / The / had / Olympics / have / setback

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio:

AllowingMeetingsCommittee
DelayedAthleteVaccinate

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were (1)__________ for one year because of COVID-19. The Olympics have only ever been cancelled during World War I and World War II and 2020 was the first time the Olympics had been delayed. It is now looking like the 2020 Olympics will not be able to take place in 2021 either. If the event doesn’t take place in 2021, then it will be cancelled completely. The Olympic (2)____________ said they can’t delay it again because of the different agreements that they have in place. It is also thought that they don’t want to delay it again because they don’t want to affect the 2024 Paris Olympics.

There is doubt that it will happen because the situation with COVID-19 has not become much better. Countries are starting to (3)_____________ their people but this will take a long time. One of the organisers of the 2012 London Olympics has said that the Tokyo Olympics will be impossible and that the organisers will need to cancel it soon. The Olympics start in July and it doesn’t look like countries will be ready to send their athletes. Many countries are not (4)_____________ international travel right now. Japan hasn’t even started vaccinating its own people. Countries that started vaccinating people in December don’t think they will be finished until after the Olympics are supposed to happen.

The Olympics have had another setback while trying to organise the event. The leader of the committee for organising the Tokyo Olympics was forced to resign. He made sexist comments against women that caused a lot of anger in Japan and around the world. He said that women do not stop talking in (5)____________ and that there shouldn’t be too many women in the workplace. Many people were offended by his comments, especially because the Olympics are supposed to be inclusive. He eventually resigned as the leader but only after a lot of pressure. He said at first that he would not resign. He was replaced by a woman. She was the Olympics Minister in Japan and she is a former Olympic (6)__________. She will now have to organise the Olympics even though the event may not go ahead.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you think the Olympics should be cancelled? Why or why not?
5. Should the Olympics be delayed again?
6. If the Olympics are cancelled, do you think Tokyo should host in 2032?
7. Are the Olympic games popular in your country?
8. Are the summer or winter Olympics more popular in your country?
9. Do you think it would be safe to have the Olympics this year?
10. Should athletes get vaccinations early so they can go to the Olympics?
11. Is the Olympics worth all of the money it costs?
12. What do you think about Yoshiro Mori’s comments about women?
13. Was it right to replace Mori with a woman?
14. Have any famous people in your country lost their job because of sexist comments?
15. Is sexism an issue in your country?
16. Do you think people in your country would get offended over Mori’s comments?
17. Do you agree that Mori had to resign?
18. Do people feel equal in the workplace in your country?
19. Should the Olympic committee wait until the last minute to cancel the Olympics?
20. What would you do if you were in charge of the Olympics now?