Olympics Preparation Underway After Year-Long Hiatus


After being postponed for almost a year, the 2020 Olympics are set to begin, but in 2021.
The summer games, which contain 28 different sports, were originally scheduled to begin on July 24, 2020, but after a global pandemic, it was decided that they should be canceled.
An announcement was then published by the Olympic site releasing the new dates, and stated “IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō concluded that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be held in their complete form and not later than summer 2021”.
While we do know the when, the main question is what the Olympics, itself, will look like.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for July 23, 2021, and will wrap up 12 days later with the closing ceremony on the 8th of August, 2021, which is an exact year later. The games are also going to remain in Tokyo, Japan, and it has been decided that all of the athletes that qualified and were going to the 2020 Olympics will remain unchanged, as it is still the XXXII Olympiad according to the official website.
Even though it is still the 2020 Tokyo Games, just a year later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of the athletes, general public, and anyone else involved in the Olympics. This includes changes to the ever-famous Olympic village, mandatory Covid testing, and plenty of new rules.
In an interview with GQ, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike explained how the plans have changed for this summer.
“Since the Olympics were postponed, we have been discussing with the IOC how to down-scale the competition and reduce costs. Our goal is to show a new model for the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Koike said.
This new model will mainly impact the Olympic Village, which has been known for its parties and scandals. However, this summer, it was a cause of conflict. An original proposition for the village was to scrap it completely and house the athletes in hotels across Tokyo, but they have gone for a different approach. While the village will remain, parties have been banned, and athletes are instructed to remain in their rooms. The athletes are also set to leave the country just a few days after competing to ensure their safety. Additionally, any athletes who fail to comply with new rules will be immediately removed from the games.
Athletes can also be punished for other reasons. Officials have decided that any athlete who takes a knee or raises a fist in support of racial inequality will be punished. This decision comes after the IOC consulted over 3,000 athletes asking their thoughts on the matter. While a rough 70% said that they don’t want anything distracting from their sport, not everyone agrees.
There has also been controversy on whether or not to hold the games in the first place. With Tokyo in a current state of emergency not even 3 months ahead of the games, both citizens and athletes are speaking out. With major Japanese cities seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases, the healthcare system is overwhelmed and hospitals flooding. There is also a concern that the influx of thousands of international athletes could add to the problem. This is also the reason that the games will not be allowing international fans and will only provide an exception for a small number of news and media members, or similar personnel.
This past year has been record-breaking in so many ways, and now the first postponement of the Olympic games can be added to the list. The games have been canceled 3 times before, due to WW1 and WW2; however, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused them to be postponed for the first time in Olympic history. There will also be a slight disruption in the traditional Olympic timeline, with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics being held just a mere 6 months after the Tokyo Olympics. After that, the schedule will resume as normal with the Paris Summer Olympics being held in 2024.
While they are still the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the Covid-19 pandemic, various protests, and all the chaos that has occured over the past year will definitely have a major impact on the events this summer.