It is exactly 1 year from now Tokyo Olympics is once again scheduled to start. Fri, 23 Jul, 2021 is the date global sporting world will wait for with bated breath and sense of apprehension. Will the Tokyo Olympics take place ? Will it be safe to host, participate or attend ? Will the Covid19 die down in 1 year’s time ? Will the global economic downturn can make a U-Turn for good ? All these questions remain unanswered – as the sporting world celebrates 1 year countdown to Tokyo Olympics 2021.
The year-long postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to coronavirus has presented organisers with unprecedented challenges and questions over costs, sponsorship and safety. With one year to go, many of these questions remain unanswered, with surveys suggesting Tokyo residents are beginning to cool on the idea of hosting the Games during a global pandemic. In a word, “simpler” — the new buzzword for Olympic officials.
Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori put it best when he said the Olympics “used to be conducted in an extravagant, grand, splendour. But the point is that in the face of COVID, would that kind of Games be accepted?”
Tokyo Olympics 1 year to go : Challenge, how to make Olympics simple, safer, cheaper ?
With millions around the world losing jobs and the global economy facing the worst downturn since the Great Depression, officials are at pains to dial down the razzmatazz. “We are looking, together with our Japanese partners and friends, on ways to simplify the organisation of the Games, how we can reduce the complexity of the Games, how we can save costs for these postponed Games,” International Olympic Committee boss Thomas Bach said in an interview last month.
But exactly how remains unclear. Tokyo 2020 has said there are 200 possible cost-cutting measures under discussion, without revealing examples. Plans said to be on the table include cutting the number of spectators and reducing participation in the opening and closing ceremonies.
Again, we don’t really know.
According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city. But the postponement has thrown up a plethora of new costs — from re-booking venues and transport to retaining a huge organising committee staff for an extra year.
The IOC has already set aside $800 million to help organisers and sports federations meet the extra costs of a postponed Olympics, $650 million of which is earmarked for the Games. Tokyo 2020 officials have remained tight-lipped about additional costs, saying they need to finalise the organisational side of things before working out the bill.
Almost every aspect of the Olympic Games, after seven years of preparation, needs to be unpicked and started again. Let’s take two of the major problems: sponsorship and venues. Just before the year-to-go landmark, Tokyo 2020 said it had secured 100 percent of the venues for next year, leaving the competition schedule broadly unchanged.
But it remains unclear how much rearranging the venues will cost — including buying out organisations that had reserved them for 2021.
Another major problem is the athletes’ village, with many units already sold off as luxury bayside apartments. The postponement and continued uncertainty surrounding the Games is also making sponsors jittery, with doubts over the $3.3 billion they were expected to stump up — more than half Tokyo’s revenue.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said last month that she would be making a “120 per cent” effort to ensure the safety of everyone attending the Games, but this is no easy task. Organisers have vowed to look at coronavirus countermeasures “from this autumn forward” but the scale of the challenge was encapsulated by John Coates, a top IOC official in charge of working with the Tokyo 2020 team.