Tokyo 2020: Seeking the silver lining
Published on April 18th, 2019
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
When it comes to Sailing at the Olympics, there is always something, and the Tokyo 2020 Games are no exception.
The first instance came in 2015 when the Sailing venue in Tokyo Bay was found to be too close to Tokyo’s nearby Haneda Airport for aerial broadcast coverage, requiring the move to Enoshima, a small island connected to the city of Fujisawa.
But that traded one hurdle for another, as Enoshima is a major fishing region, and in Japan, the fisherman aren’t too receptive to sacrificing their livelihood for a sailboat race. Thus far, negotiations are proving difficult, and now a new problem has surfaced.
When the organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics became worried about the logistics of evacuating sailing spectators in case of a tsunami, they reduced fan numbers from 5,000 people to 3,300, but now one of Japan’s foremost crisis management experts believes that is still too many people.
With concerns that it would take thousands of spectators at least one hour to reach the designated evacuation point for the area, and that buildings along the route could collapse due to a quake, there remains fear that attendance numbers are still too high.
Assuming the fishing conflict gets overcome, and the planet can avoid offshore earthquakes and tsunamis for two weeks, then it is about the sailors being able to endure the epic heat which is anticipated.
While many of the outdoor events are being scheduled well before noon to avoid the strain, the competition schedule for Sailing on July 26 to August 5 is from 12:00 to 18:00 local time. In 2018, air temperature during that span saw highs in the 90s F with wicked humidity.
Maybe the evacuation panic is a non-issue? If you’re there with me, I’d say we all seek out one of Japan’s Hooters for air conditioning, BBQ wings, and beer to watch the races.