Author Archives

Dvora Meyers

The Endgame of the Olympics

burning torch next to smoking torch
imagedepotpro / Getty Images

Dvora Meyers | Longreads | August 2020 | 5,722 words (23 minutes)

A year ago, back when we were still allowed to gather in groups larger than a minyan, activists convened in Tokyo to talk about how they were going to end the biggest global gathering of them all — the Olympic Games.

The activists came from all over: past host cities like Rio, London, Nagano, and Pyeongchang; future host cities Paris and Los Angeles; cities that had managed to derail their bids, including Boston and Hamburg; and places like Jakarta, which is gearing up for a 2032 bid.

They were in Tokyo exactly a year out from the scheduled start of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, attending the first-ever transnational anti-Olympic summit, which was organized by Hangorin no Kai, a group of unhoused and formerly unhoused people based in Tokyo. The activists, along with academics and members of the media, talked about common Games-related issues, like displacement and police militarization, and discussed strategies for resisting local political forces and the IOC to protect their communities. Elsewhere in Tokyo, Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, and the rest of the IOC crew had arrived to mark the start of the 365-day countdown to the Opening Ceremonies.

Eight months after these two very different gatherings in Tokyo, the IOC announced that the 2020 Olympics were going to be postponed by a full year due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. By the time they made the announcement, most other major sports tournaments planned for the summer had been canceled or postponed and the athletes, many of whom were shut out of training facilities due to lockdowns, were calling on the IOC to act for over a week. Once the IOC made the inevitable official, the athletes were able to reset and refocus their training on July 2021.

That even a stripped-down version of the 2021 Games will happen is hardly a foregone conclusion. The pandemic may not be under control by then. Even if it is, and even if an effective vaccine against the coronavirus is developed in time, the Games still might not happen. The postponement is likely going to add billions to a budget that was already triple that of the original projection of the Tokyo bid that the IOC had accepted in 2013. Public opinion in Japan seems to be swinging against the Games, too. In a recent survey, 77 percent of respondents said that the Olympics could not be held next year. In another poll, a slim majority of Tokyo residents said the same thing.
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The Disease of Deceit

Illustration by Homestead Studio

Dvora Meyers | Longreads | January 2020 | 38 minutes (9,656 words)

In June, I woke to an alert from Facebook, a notification of a memory from five years ago. It was a photo of a woman in a park, leaning over, kissing the top of my dog’s head. The woman’s face was partially hidden but I immediately knew who it was — Chaya. Read more…

The Gymnast’s Position

Illustration by Homestead

Dvora Meyers | Longreads | June 2019 | 25 minutes (6,257 words)

More than two decades ago, a billboard went up in Salt Lake City near the 600 South exit of the I-15. It featured a young woman in repose clad in a sleeveless black leotard, her back to the viewer and her head tilted up. The weight of her upper body rested on her right arm, which was extended behind her; her left arm lay languidly on her bent left knee. Her right leg was extended straight in front of her, its foot arch, creating the appearance of a straight line from hip to toe.

The angle of the woman’s head seemingly bathed her face in light, her long curly blonde hair falling freely down her neck. The pose was reminiscent of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, only inverted.

Passersby unable to make out the words printed in small text beneath the image would be forgiven for not knowing what exactly the billboard was advertising. Was it selling a dance performance or was it an ad for workout apparel or a photography exhibit at a local gallery? Visually, there were few clues.
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