Tokyo is welcoming, wary as Games finally begin
July 23, 2021
TOKYO - Thomas Gilman wanted nothing more than to go to Japan this summer, to wrestle for the U.S. team at the Tokyo Olympics. He was much less certain about whether Japan wanted him to come.
The Iowa native had read countless reports describing the country as a reluctant host for the pandemic-delayed Summer Games. Public opinion polls showed a majority of citizens favoring another postponement, or even cancellation. Anti-Olympics activists had staged small demonstrations and circulated petitions denouncing the Games.
On the bus ride to a Tuesday practice in Nakatsugawa, a town outside Tokyo where the team is training before the Games, Gilman found out what the residents thought. It wasn't what he expected.