Tokyo 2020: Reducing jolly and good time

Published on March 28th, 2021

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
If you’ve ever had the good fortune to attend a sporting event with some sort of VIP status, getting on the field or having access to luxury box seating, you know the Kool-Aid tastes pretty good. We all love to be loved, and having privilege beyond the fandom is good living.

When I was working at the Rio 2016 Olympics, I had a specialized press pass that allowed me unrestricted access throughout the sailing venue. While most of the media was constrained, and could speak to athletes only when they approached, I was free to roam.

One day I found myself in the VIP lounge, perched on the shoreline for viewing, pumped with air-conditioning to ward off the oppressive humidity, and stocked with snacks and beverages. So this is where the beautiful people go, I thought at the time, but the privileged few are getting a different reality for Tokyo 2020.

As Liam Morgan reports for, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that only those with “essential and operational roles” will be granted accreditation this summer for Tokyo 2020, a sensible move in a COVID-19 era and which officials close to the organization claim could reduce the number of attendees at the Games by more than 1,500.

According to the IOC, its members – all 103 of them – are deemed essential and will be granted their usual pass for the event and the $450 per diem (or $900 for Executive Board members) that comes with it. It can add up to $842,000 in per diems alone, with travel or accommodation on top of that. Love is expensive!

The main role of an IOC member at the Games is to represent the organization, a task some have managed better than others at recent Olympics, carry out IOC business, schmooze world leaders and to present a few medals. It is hard to argue the IOC is getting value for money.

Often there are far too many people accredited for the Games, plenty of whom have barely a spurious connection to the event itself and are merely there for a jolly and a good time.

Perhaps Tokyo 2020 provides the IOC with an opportunity to assess its guest program and other schemes it employs during the Games, with a view to another reduction at Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond. Good idea, but probably not…

Tokyo 2020 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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