There’s a month and a half remaining before the beginning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (and yes, they’re still being called the 2020 games one year after they were postponed due to COVID-19). 

But in the midst of a pandemic, how do Americans feel about huge delegations from all over the world gathering in one place?

According to CivicScience surveying over the past week, Americans are fairly split on the topic.

What might be even more concerning for Olympic organizers is that Americans seem to be getting more hesitant about the Olympics as the opening ceremonies approach. The percentage of respondents who said they “strongly disagree” with holding the Olympics mid-pandemic increased from 18% to 20% from May to June, while the proportion that “strongly agree” with the idea dropped from 27% to 23%.

In May and June surveying, only a minority of respondents said they’d follow the Tokyo Olympics “very closely.” However, this tracks with the 8% of Americans who followed the 2016 Olympics “very closely.”

Those who disagree with moving forward with the Olympics mid-pandemic are far less likely to plan to watch the events than those who think it’s OK to forge ahead.

Popularity of Olympic Sports

For those Americans who do plan to follow the Olympics this year, gymnastics, swimming and diving, and track and field events reign supreme among the (mostly) individual events.

In terms of team sports, opinions vary a little more, but volleyball was clearly the most popular option.

While nearly half of Americans said they disagree with the plan to move forward with the Olympics during the COVID-19 pandemic, this doesn’t seem like it will have much impact on overall interest or viewership. For those that do tune in, gymnastics, aquatics, and track and field will likely be the most popular events.