Tokyo 2020: Fulfilling Olympic dreams

Published on August 10th, 2021

Tom Duggan

For over a year, the shifting winds of Japanese politics, health professionals, and the International Olympic Committee left the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in doubt.

Watching intently from the USA was Tom Duggan as the Principal Race Officer for the Sailing Competition, and when the postponement flag was lowered, Duggan led the charge to complete the race schedule through the ten events.

In this report, Duggan reflects on the experience:


Eighteen mornings in Enoshima waking up, spitting in a tube for testing, and taking my temperature tells me my average temperature in Celsius is 36.3. Who says an American can’t figure out Celsius (ok, I didn’t – the thermometer did it for me).

But that’s not all I learned at Tokyo 2020.

I learned that determined individuals from all over the planet could be formed into a cohesive group capable of finding a way to keep a historic, globally inspirational event alive, despite a pandemic causing a year’s delay- and deliver it safely.

This effort occurred in the face of both the honest risks of the pandemic and the constant naysaying of a media (not Scuttlebutt) who seemed much more interested in revenue from click baiting – “The Olympics will cause millions of deaths, click here for details and subscription info” – than in providing balanced truth.

I learned that the Japanese people could create an immigration and monitoring system that could protect both the Japanese populace and the Olympic participants from harm during the event.

I learned that the Japanese people, despite being dealt the lousiest hand possible, with COVID-19 appearing only months before their scheduled event, are tough enough, resourceful enough, and smart enough to make the best choices for Japan and the athletes.

More so, they attained all the success possible (and more than anyone could predict) from that lousy hand, making the XXXII Olympiad a shining example of what can be accomplished by people who are determined to succeed despite long odds.

My congratulations to all the athletes who stood strong, kept their spirits up, kept training under extremely difficult circumstances during the delay, and were ultimately able to fulfill their dreams of becoming Olympians.


Tokyo 2020 detailsRace informationResults

Race schedule was staggered for the ten sailing events from July 25 to August 4.

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

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