“After a year’s delay, the Tokyo Summer Olympics appear set to proceed. The world’s best athletes will once again compete in the pool, on the track, around the velodrome and high above the trampoline. But the circumstances will be most unusual.” V. Mather, The New York Times, April 6, 2021
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: The Tokyo Olympics Explained, By Victor Mather, The New York Times, April 6, 2021
Are the 2021 Olympics canceled?
The Summer Games, scheduled for Tokyo in July and August 2020, were delayed for a year because of the pandemic. The Games are currently scheduled to proceed July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021. (There will be a few preliminary events on July 21 and 22.)
The Paralympics, also delayed by a year, are to take place Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
Will there be anyone in the stands?
Japanese fans can attend events, as of now. But most international visitors will not be allowed to come to Japan for the Olympics. Exceptions will be made for athletes, officials and some news media members.
Are they still having the torch relay?
Yes, the relay got underway in Fukushima, Japan, on March 25. The opening ceremony was closed to the public and the routes are not being announced until 30 minutes before the start time.
Pandemic aside, is the city ready?
Unlike other recent hosts, notably Rio de Janeiro in 2016, it appears that Tokyo has its stadiums and infrastructure in order, although surprises sometimes arise when athletes start arriving.
NOTE: These are only a few questions from the original article by Victor Mather. Please read the entire article with your students. -ESL-Voices
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about the Olympics. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- After a year’s delay, the Tokyo Summer Olympics appear set to proceed.
- The world’s best athletes will once again compete in the pool, on the track, and around the velodrome.
- But the circumstances will be most unusual.
- There will be a few preliminary events on July 21 and 22.
- The Paralympics, also delayed by a year, are to take place Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
- T-shirts, mugs, signage and other branded gear will all reflect that.
- Are they still having the torch relay?
- Spectators can attend only in their home areas and cheering is forbidden.
- The committee is also eager to hang on to the billions in television money.
- Exceptions will be made for athletes, officials and some news media members.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- How many time has Tokyo hosted the Games?
- Have the Olympics been canceled or postponed before?
- Tokyo has its stadiums and infrastructure in order.
- The finals will be in the morning Japan time, and prime time in the United States.
- Miraitowa are the mascot of the Games.
- Someity is the Paralympics mascot.
- Two of the biggest stars of recent Games have retire.
- Some new events have been added to traditional sports.
- There is no prize money from the International Olympic Committee for winners.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, mark it NA. If the statement is false mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- The Summer Games, scheduled for Tokyo in July and August 2020, were delayed for a year because of the pandemic.
- Surveys reveal that 100 percent of people in Japan think the Games should not go on this summer.
- Despite coming a year late, the Games are still called Tokyo 2020.
- International visitors will be allowed to attend the Games.
- Exceptions to attend the Games will be made for athletes, officials and some news media members.
- They are not having the torch relay at the Games.
- Two significant Olympics officials have left their posts after making sexist remarks.
- The Summer and Winter Olympics alternate every four years.
- Several sports were dropped from the Olympic games.
- The five rings, of blue, yellow, black, green and red, date to 1912 and were designed by de Coubertin. The colors were chosen so that every flag in the world would have at least one matching color.
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Are you involved in any sports? Which ones?
- Do you watch the Olympic games?
- Which season do you prefer the summer or winter Olympics? Explain why.
- Which Olympic events do you like the most? Why?
- Do you have any favorite Olympic athletes? Who are they and in which sport do they excel?
- Are you concerned about the summer Olympics being held during the pandemic?
- In your opinion should the games be held at all?
- Why are the The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo organizing committee so determined to hold the games this year?
- What is International Olympic Committee doing to insure the safety of the athletes and spectators taking this year?
- Which two Japanese officials left their posts? Why?
- List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Share your responses with your class.