Tokyo 2020: Murmurs of cancellation

Published on January 19th, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics are to open in six months on July 23 and there exists significant uncertainty for it to occur. Instead of a countdown celebration, the focus is on the virus and speculation around the Olympics being canceled.

Should they take place during a spreading pandemic — vaccine or no vaccine? Organizers say they will with exact details yet to be revealed.

It’s been this way since the Olympics were postponed almost 10 months ago. There are always more questions than answers.

When will a final decision be announced about holding the Olympics?
The International Olympic Committee and local organizers are adamant they will happen. Mark the date — March 25. That’s when the torch relay, heavily sponsored by Coca-Cola and Toyota, begins from northern Japan, crisscrossing the country for four months with 10,000 runners headed to Tokyo. It’s hard to imagine the relay going ahead, but the Olympics being canceled. Remember, it was in late March last year that the Olympics were postponed.

Will these Olympics look different?
Almost certainly. First, athletes will be told to arrive later than usual, and leave early. The idea is to keep the Athletes Village sparsely populated. It’s hard to imagine much interaction between athletes, the public and the media. Fewer athletes than usual are likely to appear in the opening ceremony. Japanese media are reporting only 6,000 Olympic athletes will take part. The Olympics involve 11,000 athletes.

However, from the perspective of the television viewer, everything may look similar to previous Olympics. The venues are basically TV stages, and they look the same from one Olympics to the next. Fans are now accustomed to viewing sports events in empty stadiums.

One caveat. Ticket sales account for $800 million in income for local organizers. No fans means lost revenue and more costs. Those costs must be absorbed by Japanese government entities. Several Japanese government audits have estimated Olympic spending at $25 billion or more. All but $6.7 billion is public money. Local sponsors have also poured in $3.5 billion. Will they get much “bang for their buck?” – Full report

Editor’s note: The Sailing events are to be held nearly 40 miles from Tokyo at Enoshima Yacht Harbour in Fujisawa City.

Tokyo Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021

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