TOKYO — Spectators from overseas will not be allowed to attend the Summer Olympics in Japan, organizers said on Saturday, making a major concession to the realities of Covid-19 even as they forged ahead with plans to hold the world’s largest sporting event.
The Tokyo Games, which begin in July, were originally scheduled for 2020 but were delayed by a year because of the pandemic. The Tokyo organizing committee has been scrambling to develop safety protocols to protect both participants and local residents from the virus. Concern has been running high in Japan, with big majorities saying in polls that the Games should not be held this summer.
The decision, which the Tokyo organizers made jointly with the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the national and local governments in Japan, had been foreshadowed in the Japanese media for weeks.
Thomas Bach, the president of the I.O.C., has encouraged national organizing committees to secure vaccines for athletes, and he announced this month that China had offered to provide vaccinations for participants who required one ahead of the Games.
vaccine rollout has been relatively slow, the population will not be close to fully vaccinated by the time the Games start.
The organizing committees will now have the enormous headache of arranging refunds for ticket buyers. In bidding for the Games, the Tokyo organizers said that 7.8 million tickets would be made available. Typically, about 10 to 20 percent of Olympic tickets go to international spectators.
Japanese fans could take up some of the slack. Local demand for tickets far outstripped the supply, at least before the pandemic.
The coronavirus has had a comparatively muted effect on Japan, which has had far fewer cases and deaths than the United States and Western Europe. The country has reported just over 8,700 Covid-19 deaths since the pandemic began.
Japan declared a widespread state of emergency in early January after a rise in infections. Since then, most areas have lifted the declaration. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced this week that it would be ended in Tokyo.
a superfan who has attended 15 Olympics, bought about $8,600 in tickets for the Tokyo Games for himself and his nephew.
They were looking forward to seeing beach volleyball, archery, fencing, diving and a men’s basketball game and had tickets for the closing ceremony. According to terms from CoSport, the broker that handled ticket sales for U.S.-based fans, customers will not be repaid for some fees — which Mr. Brown said could cost him about $1,200 — and refunds could take time.
“Since we are being barred, it is only right for them to make everyone whole and refund all of the money paid,” Mr. Brown said before the official announcement was made. What’s more, he said, after waiting a whole year, he wanted his refund quickly. “It would be real painful watching this at home on TV and knowing they have the money, and not knowing when you’re going to get it back.”
SAINT-AMBROISE, Quebec — In a retirement community north of Quebec City, 30-foot plastic palm trees overlook Miami, Orlando and Cocoa Avenues, cookie-cutter streets where residents glide by some days on snowshoes.
The pool area — complete with straw-covered umbrellas, a candy-colored inflatable children’s slide and a nearby tiki bar — evokes countless oceanside condos in Florida. Except for the snow, and temperatures that dipped this month to minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Domaine de la Florida, a Canadian make-believe Miami, whose 520 residents are so in love with the Sunshine State that they have recreated it here. In the summer, golf carts whisk silver-haired retirees to games of beach volleyball, shuffleboard and Bingo. In the winter, as many as half of them fire up their R.V.’s or hop into their cars or a plane, and head south for the real deal.
Le Soleil de la Floride, as well as a local ecosystem of Francophone real estate agents, accountants and dentists.
Even the unofficial Queen of Quebec, the singer Celine Dion, kept a 13-bedroom beachfront estate in Florida, with a private water park, before selling it in 2017 for a reported $28 million.
Before the pandemic, an estimated one million Canadian residents spent their winters in the United States; at least 500,000 of them were Quebec snowbirds who traveled to Florida, according to the Canadian Snowbird Association, a group that advises snowbirds on matters like insurance.
half a dozen restaurants offering poutine, the zipper-bursting Quebecois delicacy of French fries, cheese curds and gravy.
But this year, the closure of the land border with the United States and fears of catching the virus deterred many of Quebec’s snowbirds from the annual pilgrimage. Florida has had more than 1.96 million cases of Covid-19 compared with 922,848 in all of Canada.
And while it is still possible to take quick flights from Montreal to Miami — a more expensive option than driving — some residents of Domaine de la Florida said they were repelled by rules requiring them to quarantine for 14 days after flying home to Canada. That would include spending three days in a designated hotel at a cost of about $2,000 Canadian dollars, or about $1,600.
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. The region is proud and picturesque, surrounded by mountains and famed for its aluminum and forest industries.
Mr. Bouchard, who owns an RV dealership across the street, said about half of the Domaine’s residents were snowbirds.
His faux Florida took root about a decade ago when he noticed how many Quebecers spent their winters in Miami. To reproduce Florida’s tropical sensibility, he said he “planted” dozens of plastic palm trees each year — imported from China. The largest cost about 5,000 Canadian dollars, or about $4,000, each.
Florida. Part of the appeal was the possibility of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus at a time when Canada’s vaccination rate has been lagging other countries, including that of the United States.
Perhaps predictably, there was a backlash against Canadian vaccine tourists on social media.
Century Village East, a condominium complex in Deerfield Beach where about half of the more than 8,000 condominiums are owned by Canadian snowbirds. Mr. Roboz, who has a lung ailment, said that after arriving in Florida in January, he had been vaccinated within 48 hours.
“This is my life we are talking about,” he said, explaining his rationale for traveling. He said vaccinating Canadian residents in Florida, big contributors to the local economy, was a public health imperative.
Real Vachon, 60, a resident of Domaine de la Florida, recently traveled to Fort Lauderdale to join his wife, Linda, and their French bulldog, Daisy. He said getting vaccinated had been a draw, along with the opportunity to pass the days lolling at their Florida home’s outdoor spa, surrounded by real palm trees, sans frostbite.
He and his wife are planning to depart Florida by the end of April for home. That should be just in time to see the plastic palm trees “bloom.”
ROME — When the Italian volleyball player Lara Lugli got pregnant, she knew she would lose her job.
But when her club refused a request for some pay she claimed was owed to her, she brought a lawsuit. The club responded by accusing her of causing financial damage and ruining her team’s season, and she decided to speak out.
She denounced her treatment on Facebook on Sunday, triggering outrage across Italy and a national conversation that was a long time coming. Her case was a call to action in a country where many paid female athletes have lacked legal protections against discrimination for decades, and where all too often women must still choose between motherhood or jobs.
“Comparing a pregnancy to bad behavior is simply so low,” said Ms. Lugli, now 41. “This is not something just about me.”
Her case reflects a broader gender inequality in Italian sports, entrenched in deeply rooted stereotypes in a country that ranks 76th in the world in terms of gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum.
Facebook Wednesday that the fact women must choose between motherhood and work “forces them into inequality,” and is a situation that Italian women can no longer tolerate.
the United States and Norway — maternity clauses would most likely be impossible to impose, Ms. Tortorella said.
promised to not financially penalize its sponsored athletes who become pregnant, after its handling of the issue had been criticized. A few months ago, FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, made it mandatory to guarantee maternity leave for at least 14 weeks for professional women soccer players.
But because of the lack of public attention, political interest and funding for women’s volleyball, offering professional contracts would be a fatal blow to the clubs’ finances, the president of the Women Volleyball League has said.
a recent study. Overall, 72 percent of athletes in Italy are men, while only 28 percent are women, according to the Italian National Olympic committee.
“It is a partly a cultural problem, and that is clear,” said Luisa Rizzitelli, the president of Assist, the national association of women athletes. But it also reflects a lack of political will to invert the trend.
“Women in sports need to be allowed to have protections if they become mothers,” she added. “In 2021, this simply is no longer acceptable.”