No cheering at Tokyo 2020 Games
Published on June 21st, 2021
Tokyo, Japan (June 21, 2021) – A sharply limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics, organizers announced today as they tried to save some of the spirit of the Games where even cheering has been banned.
Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, all of whom must be Japanese residents — for each Olympic venue, regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors. Officials said that if coronavirus cases rise again the rules could be changed and fans could still be barred all together.
Spectators from abroad were banned several months ago, and now some local fans who have tickets will be forced to give them up.
The decision comes as opposition among Japanese to holding the Games in July remains high, though may be softening, and as new infections in Tokyo have begun to subside. Still, health officials fear that in a country where the vast majority of people have yet to be vaccinated, crowds at the Olympics could drive cases up.
Officials say local fans will be under strict rules. They will not be allowed to cheer, must wear masks, and are being told to go straight home afterward.
“We would like people to go directly home from the venue without stopping by anywhere,” said organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto.
He said 3.64 million tickets were already in the hands of Japanese residents. He indicated that was about 900,000 more than the seats likely to be available. That will mean a lottery to see who can attend.
Tokyo organizers had expected about $800 million in revenue from ticket sales, but Muto said the actual figure would be no more than half that. Any shortfall will have to be picked by some Japanese government entity.
The University of Oxford has said these are the most expensive Olympics on record. The official cost is $15.4 billion, but several government audits suggest it might be twice that much. All but $6.7 billion is public money.
The IOC relies on selling broadcast rights for almost 75% of its income. Another 18% is from sponsors. A cancellation would cost the IOC an estimated $3 billion-$4 billion in lost broadcast income — an enormous blow especially at a time when its income flow has already been slowed by the pandemic.
The decision comes just as Tokyo has emerged from a state of emergency as the curve of new cases has flattened. The seven-day average for new infections in the city is about 400 daily.
The capital and other areas are now under “quasi-emergency” status until July 11. The new rules will allow restaurants to serve alcohol during limited hours, the main outcome from the reduced restrictions.
Overall, more than 14,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in Japan, which has managed the pandemic better than many countries but not as well as some others in Asia. Its vaccination campaign remains behind many Western ones, with about 6.5% of Japanese fully vaccinated and 16.5% with at least one shot.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has favored allowing fans, said before the official announcement that he would bar fans if conditions change. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike echoed that.
“If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the Games give top priority to safety and security for the people,” Suga said.
In recent polls, support seems to be increasing for holding the Olympics, though a majority still appear to favor postponing or canceling the Games, depending how the question is worded.
Source: Associated Press
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
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