A year to go, rearranged Tokyo Olympics remain shrouded in uncertainty
UNTV News • July 21, 2020 • 222
This time last year, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach declared Tokyo the best prepared host city he had ever seen before a glitzy ceremony to celebrate one year until the Games.
Even six months ago, when fireworks erupted over a giant, luminous set of Olympic rings in Tokyo Bay, organisers were full of hope at delivering an unforgettable Games.
However, just two months later plans that had taken almost a decade to execute were shredded as the global coronavirus pandemic forced the IOC and the Japanese government to take the unprecedented decision to postpone the Olympics for a year.
Now, as Tokyo prepares to mark one year to go until the rearranged Games on Thursday (July 23), there is no doubt these Olympics will live long in the memory but organisers are desperate it is for the right reasons.
Since the postponement decision in late March, all 42 venues for the Games have been secured and the competition schedule announced with the opening ceremony taking place in the 156.9 billion yen ($1.44 billion) National Stadium on July 23, 2021.
Yet beyond that, questions remain about almost all aspects of hosting what Bach has called the ‘most complex event on this planet’.
What hasn’t been decided is how much rearranging the Games is going to cost the Japanese taxpayer.
Whilst the IOC have said their share of the bill will be some $800 million, Tokyo 2020 organizers have repeatedly refused to put a number on likely costs to Japanese stakeholders.
With the Games already costing over 1.35 trillion yen ($12.35 billion) before the postponement, more expenditure could further disenfranchise a Japanese population already turning their backs on the once-popular Olympics.
In addition to costs, other major issues dominate any conversation on the rearranged Games.
Most important – as stressed numerous times by Bach – is athlete safety.
Organisers have said all efforts will be made to ensure the 11,000 qualified athletes can travel safely to Tokyo and compete in world class surroundings.
How this will be achieved with athletes travelling from across the world and staying in the Athletes’ Village has yet to be finalised.
Whether these athletes will be competing in empty venues is another major question.
Tokyo 2020 hasn’t confirmed how many tickets have been sold but in the most recent Games budget, organizers said $800 million had been raised through ticket sales.
However, with sports events starting up across the world in empty stadiums, it remains to be seen whether fans will be allowed to attend the Olympics next year.
The challenges facing Olympics organizers are unprecedented but under questioning from athletes, fans, and sponsors, they need to find answers quickly. (Reuters)
It will be difficult for Tokyo to host the Olympic Games next year unless there is an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus, the head of the Japan Medical Association said on Tuesday (April 28).
“I am not saying that Japan should or shouldn’t host the Olympics, but I expect it would be difficult to do so,” JMA president Yoshitake Yokokura said in a media briefing.
Yokokura also called on Japan to increase coronavirus testing, which he said was not sufficient enough to assess whether the number of cases has fallen in the country.
The one-year delay of the 2020 Olympic Games announced last month was a major blow to Japan, which had already spent $13 billion preparing for the event. As the outbreak has spread around the world, infecting almost three million people and killing more than 200,000, experts have warned that the fight against the virus could be prolonged. (Reuters)
Tokyo – Giant Olympic rings have been installed on the Tokyo waterfront as a monument adding to the Japanese capital’s urban landscape and atmosphere ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the capital’s metropolitan government announced on Friday.
The steel symbol of five interlocking rings in blue, yellow, black, green and red stands about 15.3 meters high and 32.6 meters wide on a floating platform at Odaiba Marine Park, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said in a statement.
Odaiba Marine Park will be the venue for the open-water marathon swimming (10 kilometers), as well as the triathlon events.
The huge symbol features a lighting system that will be switched on for the first time on Jan. 24, a date that marks exactly six months before the start of the Tokyo Games, along with a fireworks display in the bay and other events.
After the Olympics, to be held from Jul. 24 to Aug. 9 in Tokyo, the structure will be replaced by the symbol of the Paralympic Games, which will run from Aug. 25 to Sep. 6, according to organizers.
The monument can be seen from Friday in the vicinity of the iconic Rainbow Bridge, one of the most recognizable buildings in the Tokyo Bay landscape, where most of the Olympic venues are located. EFE-EPA
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