These are probably the most important weeks of Thomas Bach’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) Presidency.
In terms of what the outside world thinks of the Movement he heads, the speeches and comments he makes between now and the Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony on August 8 will set the template for the foreseeable future.
It is absolutely critical that this 67-year-old German lawyer and former fencer describes the world as it is, and not as he would like it to be.
The world as it is was anatomised brilliantly earlier this week by John Burn-Murdoch, the Financial Times’s go-to guy for detailed statistical analysis of the pandemic, and my friend David Pilling, the paper’s Africa Editor.
They cut to the chase, summarising their findings in the first two sentences of a fact-filled but frustrating and deeply worrying piece.
"The Delta coronavirus variant…is exacting a grim toll on dozens of developing countries, where vaccination levels are insufficient to prevent a surge in cases from becoming a wave of deaths," they write.
"As economies in Europe and the [United States] that have successfully weakened the link between infections and deaths have started to reopen, poorer countries with low vaccination rates are in some cases entering their worst phase of the pandemic."
I will not harp on; no doubt you can hunt the article down for yourselves.
But it asserts, for example, that last week Africa recorded a 43 per cent week-on-week rise in COVID-19 deaths.
Furthermore, while the deaths-to-cases ratio in the highly-vaccinated United Kingdom has "fallen from about one in 50 during the winter wave to one in 750", poor Namibia, with just 1.2 per cent of the population vaccinated, is "recording one death for every 22 cases".
Nothing, it seems to me, reflects the widening chasm between rich and poor so much, as this strange, subdued festival of sport prepares to get under way, as the present state of this lethal pandemic.
No, the global organisation which Bach heads does not have the power to do anything very much directly about these disparities.
But, as he prepares to deliver the most widely-followed utterances of his life, he has a moral duty, I believe, to make clear that he comprehends where we now stand, and will use whatever levers the Olympic Movement can summon to push world leaders to do better.
The Tokyo Games are coming at a time, yes, when some of us lucky enough to live in the same wealthy and powerful nations which will dominate the Olympic and Paralympic medals tables can sense that the virus has been forced onto the back foot.
This is emphatically not the case for many of the populations represented at the Games.
If Bach cannot convey in coming weeks that he understands how far away we remain from vanquishing COVID, then the Movement’s credibility will take an enduring hit.
The tunnel is turning out to be longer than most of us expected and hoped.
Meanwhile, as the German’s reign over Olympicland nears the end of its eighth year, thoughts are beginning to turn more frequently to the succession.
This should occur, though I am unconvinced he will not try to extend his stay, in 2025.
With the IOC very much for now in his iron grip, no-one could be described as heir apparent.
However, 57-year-old Nicole Hoevertsz, IOC member from the tiny island of Aruba, is one of half a dozen or so Bach colleagues whom one could envisage emerging as viable candidates.
Her stature is expected to grow further this week when, as revealed by my colleague Liam Morgan, she is set to become an IOC vice-president.
I have observed Hoevertsz periodically from the sidelines since she joined the IOC in 2006, and was granted a long interview with her in pre-COVID days two years ago.
Based on this, I would say that her strengths include tenacity; I can scarcely imagine her ever being daunted by the scale or difficulty of any particular task.
But don’t be fooled: as an ex-synchronised swimmer, she is well used to the notion of smiling gracefully through whatever pain and effort is necessary to reach her goals.
She seems transparently, even luminously, honest, insofar as one can ever accurately judge these things.
And I cannot recall having met anyone with such zeal for the Olympic idea and its power to change lives for the better.
Her fierce loyalty extends to the brands which spend heavily to attach their names to the Olympic concept via sponsorship deals.
"I am very loyal to the Olympic brand and the Olympic partners," she told me.
"I only wear Swatch; I drive Toyota; I use Samsung.
"I really am very loyal because I think loyalty is very important for a person to have and for an organisation to have."
In a hard-fought Presidential election, I could see her provenance from such a small country acting as either a drawback or a blessing.
Arubans, for example, tend to be natural linguists: "All Arubans speak four languages," she told me - Dutch, Spanish, English and the local Papiamento.
Similarly, the question of gender, should it become an issue, could work either for her or against her - the IOC has been a glorified boys’ club for most of its existence; yet the time for a female leader cannot now be far away.
Hoevertsz has also, it should be stressed, carried out a good number of those delicate tasks and responsibilities that can act as rites of passage to the top job - and done so without, as far as I am aware, making prominent enemies.
In late-2017, for example, she was appointed chair of the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) Implementation Group, a role many must have considered unenviable, but a sure sign she was considered a safe pairs of hands.
If I have doubts, it is whether she has the stomach or aptitude for the murky all but impenetrable politics that would accompany a hard-hitting election race and then dog the winner in her leadership role.
It is just possible that the days of whispered corridor deals and the proverbial smoke-filled rooms are receding.
If the Movement decides it wants as its next figurehead a sincere, smart, indefatigable champion of the Olympic values, who is disciplined in pursuit of aims while retaining a human touch, a Hoevertsz candidacy could be well worth keeping an eye on.