Level 1 | Level 2| Level 3 | Answers

The Tokyo Olympics were initially planned for summer 2020. After the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic, the games were cast into doubt and eventually delayed for a year until summer 2021. At the time, it was believed that the COVID-19 pandemic would most likely be resolved by then. As the pandemic has continued to rage on, various events, movies and plans have been continually delayed. Now, 5 months from the planned start of the 2021 Olympics, talks have once again turned to whether or not the games can go ahead.

The chief executive of the 2012 London Olympic games, Sir Keith Mills, said in January that Tokyo officials should be preparing for the cancellation of the 2021 Olympics. Sir Mills said that if he were in charge of the Tokyo Olympics, he would be making plans for its cancellation. Although, he also said that Tokyo officials are only likely to cancel the Olympics at the last minute “in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hoped”. With 5 months to go and vaccinations not being distributed as fast as previously hoped, the case for the Olympics going ahead is getting weaker. In a recent poll, 80% of Japanese people said they thought the Olympics should be cancelled.

Amidst the turmoil over whether or not to cancel the Olympics, the head of the Olympic organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, got himself into hot water. Mr Mori, a former prime minister of Japan, said that women “talk too much” in meetings and that meetings with women would “take a lot of time”. He made the remarks during a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee. He apologised for the comments, although critics said it was a “non-apology”, and said that he would not be stepping down from his position as the head of the organising committee. After a week of increasing pressure, he finally resigned and recommended that 84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi replace him. This caused further controversy as 83-year-old Mori was perceived as having outdated views, leading to his forced resignation. The Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, a woman, was eventually chosen to replace Mr Mori and Ms Hashimoto was also replaced as Olympic Minister by a woman.

The turmoil created by Mori’s comments brought unwanted controversy to the already plagued games. The delay of the Olympics has added an estimated 22% to the cost of the games as many contracts and agreements have had to be reworked. Now that the games seem destined to not go ahead like normal, there have been other discussions about how the games could still be held during the pandemic. Proposals include vaccinating athletes, not allowing spectators, only allowing vaccinated spectators and, of course, cancelling the games completely. It’s not known what options the Japanese Olympic Committee are considering, but Seiko Hashimoto has inherited a difficult job.

Difficult words

Breakout (n): An outbreak of a disease.

Rage on (phrasal verb): To continue to cause damage.

Poll (n): A vote.

Amidst (preposition): Surrounded by, in the middle of.

Turmoil (n): A state of great disturbance.

Remarks (n): Something mentioned or commented.

Outdated (adj): Out of date, obsolete.

Plagued (v): To filled with trouble or distress.

Spectator (n): Viewers or audience members.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

1. BreakoutA. Comments
2. Rage onB. A vote.
3. PollC. Viewer
4. AmidstD. Continue to destroy.
5. TurmoilE. Old-fashioned
6. RemarksF. Surrounded by.
7. OutdatedG. Outbreak
8. PlaguedH. Afflicted
9. SpectatorI. Disturbance

True or False?

1. The Tokyo Olympics were initially planned for winter 2020. T / F

2. People thought the COVID-19 pandemic would be over by summer 2021. T / F

3.  No movies have been delayed because of the pandemic. T / F

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

5. Sir Keith Mills believes the Tokyo Olympics can still happen in 2021. T / F

6. The COVID-19 vaccines are not being distributed as quickly as people had hoped. T / F

7. Most Japanese people believe the Olympics should not be cancelled. T / F

8. Yoshiro Mori was once Prime Minister of Japan. T / F

9. Mori was criticised for having outdated views. T / F

10.  Mori was replaced by a 84-year-old man he recommended. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. planned / Tokyo / The / initially / Olympics / were / summer 2020 / for

2. former / that / prime minister / Mr Mori, / Japan, / much” / women / too / of / said / “talk / a

3. remarks / the / a / of / He / meeting / during / Japanese Olympic Committee / the / made

4. turmoil / Mori’s / comments / brought / by / unwanted / The / created / controversy

5. an / added / Olympics / of / the / to / The / has / estimated 22% / delay / cost / the

Listening and Vocabulary

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

American English Audio:

VaccinatingTurmoilDistributed
ForcedResignedInitially
ExecutiveOrganisingAhead

The Tokyo Olympics were (1)__________ planned for summer 2020. After the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic, the games were cast into doubt and eventually delayed for a year until summer 2021. At the time, it was believed that the COVID-19 pandemic would most likely be resolved by then. As the pandemic has continued to rage on, various events, movies and plans have been continually delayed. Now, 5 months from the planned start of the 2021 Olympics, talks have once again turned to whether or not the games can go (2)____________.

The chief (3)____________ of the 2012 London Olympic games, Sir Keith Mills, said in January that Tokyo officials should be preparing for the cancellation of the 2021 Olympics. Sir Mills said that if he were in charge of the Tokyo Olympics, he would be making plans for its cancellation. Although, he also said that Tokyo officials are only likely to cancel the Olympics at the last minute “in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hoped”. With 5 months to go and vaccinations not being (4)_____________ as fast as previously hoped, the case for the Olympics going ahead is getting weaker. In a recent poll, 80% of Japanese people said they thought the Olympics should be cancelled.

Amidst the turmoil over whether or not to cancel the Olympics, the head of the Olympic (5)____________ committee, Yoshiro Mori, got himself into hot water. Mr Mori, a former prime minister of Japan, said that women “talk too much” in meetings and that meetings with women would “take a lot of time”. He made the remarks during a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee. He apologised for the comments, although critics said it was a “non-apology”, and said that he would not be stepping down from his position as the head of the organising committee. After a week of increasing pressure, he finally (6)___________ and recommended that 84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi replace him. This caused further controversy as 83-year-old Mori was perceived as having outdated views, leading to his (7)__________ resignation. The Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, a woman, was eventually chosen to replace Mr Mori and Ms Hashimoto was also replaced as Olympic Minister by a woman.

The (8)___________ created by Mori’s comments brought unwanted controversy to the already plagued games. The delay of the Olympics has added an estimated 22% to the cost of the games as many contracts and agreements have had to be reworked. Now that the games seem destined to not go ahead like normal, there have been other discussions about how the games could still be held during the pandemic. Proposals include (9)_____________ athletes, not allowing spectators, only allowing vaccinated spectators and, of course, cancelling the games completely. It’s not known what options the Japanese Olympic Committee are considering, but Seiko Hashimoto has inherited a difficult job.

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?