But a Japanese mayor went further after biting a softball player’s gold medal without permission, sparking public outrage.
Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura was shown removing his covid mask and biting into the medal during an event intended to celebrate softball pitcher Miu Goto’s Olympic victory last week. The moment, which was broadcast live on television, has come under heavy criticism for its disrespect and lack of hygiene amid an increase in coronavirus cases.
A Nagoya City Hall official told CNN that he has received more than 8,000 complaints about Kawamura’s behavior. The messages include calls for Kawamura to step down, the official added.
Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement Thursday that they would replace Goto’s medal and bear the cost of the exchange, Reuters reported.
“With the support of the International Olympic Committee and in accordance with her own intention, Ms. Goto’s medal should now be exchanged for a new one,” Tokyo 2020 organizers said.
Kawamura apologized at a press conference Thursday for “damaging the gold medalist’s treasure” and offered to pay a replacement with his own money. He added that he had sent Goto and the Japan Softball Association a written apology.
The Japanese women’s softball team, for which Goto played, defeated the United States 2-0 to win Olympic gold in the final on July 27.
Kawamura’s antics also sparked backlash from other Japanese Olympians.
Japan’s largest auto company, Toyota Motor Corporation, which owns the Red Terriers softball team Goto plays for, called Kawamura’s actions “inappropriate” in a statement last week, the public broadcaster reported. Japanese NHK News.
“Under strict infection control, the medalists themselves put the medal on their neck,” the statement said. “There was no respect or measure of infection. We want him to act as a responsible leader.”
Since the Games, Tokyo has seen a peak in Covid-19 cases, from 1,128 new infections on July 23, the day the Olympics started, to a peak of 5,042 on August 4, according to metropolitan government figures. Tokyo.
Tokyo is in a state of emergency, although some experts have said it should be expanded to cover the entire country, according to Reuters.
So far, Japan has recorded more than one million cases of Covid-19 and more than 15,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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