When Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 summer Olympics in 2013, the excitement was great. Japan took a big hit in 2011 when the large Tohoku triple disaster struck the country, and we all needed something to look forward to. The Tokyo Olympics offered a welcome distraction and a way to showcase to the world how Japan has recovered from the disaster and what Japan has to offer to visitors. Boosting tourism became a spearhead of government stimulation, and the government set a target of 40 million foreign visitors to Japan for 2020. But as we all know, it was not to be, and we the Games were held in 2021 instead.
The Tokyo Olympics of 1964
2020 was not going to be the first time that Tokyo will host the Olympics, as they already had the honor once before in 1964. It was nearly 20 years after the end of WW2 during which Japan was defeated and large parts of Japan were left in tatters. The Japanese had a lot of work to do rebuilding the country in the second half of the 1940s and 1950s, and so they did. Alongside the Americans, they have worked very hard to make Japan rise from the ashes, better than before.
Winning the bid for the 1964 Olympics gave the Japanese an extra reason to buckle down and rebuild and revitalize urban infrastructures. They got the chance to show off their hard work to the world and showcase a new, shiny, modern, and pacifist Japan. The legacy of the 1964 Olympics was an efficient urban infrastructure, the new bullet train, some architectural prestige projects, and very importantly many new opportunities for the citizens of Japan to participate in sports in new sports accommodations and a renewed interest in sports as a way to live happy and healthy
Many people have worked very hard to get everything done on time;, the Olympic Village had to be constructed, infrastructures needed updating, people had to be trained, and many businesses large and small had to get ready for an enormous influx of (foreign) tourists.
Late 2019, things were looking good and everything was going according to schedule. And then, 2020 finally arrived when in January ominous news from China started to trickle through about a new and very contagious coronavirus. This unfolded in one of the largest pandemics of all times very quickly, and in March 2020 it became clear quite quickly that the Olympics couldn’t be held as scheduled.
Tokyo Olympics 2021
The Olympics are currently scheduled to be held in 2021 from Friday, July 23 until Sunday, August 8 (Olympics) and Tuesday, August 24 until Sunday, September 5 (Paralympics) while still retaining the name ‘Tokyo Olympics 2020’. In September 2020, it was announced that the Olympics will be held in 2021, no matter what the situation around the Coronavirus will be like at that moment.
The way they will mitigate the infection risk at that time is still not announced, but rest assured that the people in charge of the organization of the 2020 Olympics are working very hard to come up with all kinds of creative solutions. Because some things that Japan excels at are managing health risks, having high hygiene standards, and managing larger groups of people. Plus, you can definitely count on a spectacular opening and closing ceremony, no matter what shape the Olympics will take.
Once there are any important updates about the 2020 Olympics in 2021, we will update this article. For updates on the reopening of the borders of Japan for tourists in general, please check this article for updates.
While we are not entirely sure yet what shape the Olympics will take in 2021 like whether there will be any audience, we do know what beautiful buildings we will be able to see and what cool new technology they will use to make the Games one smooth operation no matter what.
One of the biggest feats will be the National Stadium, which location was used for the 1964 Olympics as well and was rebuilt completely in 2019. The venue holds nearly 70,000 people and is designed by Kengo Kuma, a famous Japanese architect whose style is minimalist and often includes natural elements like greens and wood.
The volleyball and wheelchair basketball stadium in Ariake called the Ariake Arena is also noteworthy; it has a modern design and will be a permanent new fixture in this southern part of Tokyo. Shiokaze Park will be the venue for beach volleyball, and it will definitely boast one of the best city views on the Rainbow Bridge.
Then there are the heat mitigating solutions. July and August are the hottest months of the year in Tokyo, and daytime temperatures average around 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) while humidity is high. To maintain a healthy environment for athletes and spectators you can expect to see measures like a special coating on asphalt roads to lower the temperatures of the surface, more greenery for more shade, mist sprays at strategic locations, and real-time monitoring of street surface temperatures with sensors so early warnings can be given if it would become dangerously hot.
And of course, there will be ample new technology to be used during events and behind the scenes; superb video and audio broadcasting, robots that help the humans do their jobs, state of the art communication technology, and buses transporting people between Olympic venues that run on fuel cells and are thus environmentally friendly.
Situation Tokyo Olympics 2020/2021
October 2020: general security measures and COVID-19 prevention measures for the Olympics were tested at a larger scale. Tests for general security were completed, while testing for COVID-19 prevention measures will continue. Some of the measures that will likely be employed are wearable temperature-checking strips and encouragement to bring as little luggage as possible so there won’t be any holdups at security checkpoints and social distancing becomes easier.
April 2021: in March it was decided that the Games will be held without spectators from abroad.
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