Covid-19, postponement, vaccination … Questions and Answers: Everything you know about the Tokyo Olympics

Games got a title "Recovery Olympics" Photo: KIM KYUNG-HOON / AFP

After a year of delay, the Tokyo Olympics appear to be event-ready. Once again, the world’s best athletes will compete in the pool, on the track, around the racetrack and on top of the trampoline. However, the circumstances will be the most bizarre. Here’s what we know about the Olympics.

Are the 2021 games canceled?

No, it was initially scheduled to take place between July and August 2020, the Games have been postponed by one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, it is scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021 (some preliminary events will take place on July 21 and 22). The Paralympics have also been postponed by a year and will run from August 24 to September 5.

Oh really?

So far, yeah, it’s serious. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organizing Committee are determined to host the Games after years of planning. They are also careful not to miss out on the billions of dollars in broadcast rights they would lose if the Olympics were canceled. According to the organizers, it cannot be postponed again. Research shows that between 70% and 80% of people in Japan believe that the Olympic Games should not be held this summer (in the Northern Hemisphere).

But is it still called Tokyo 2020?

Yes, although it will take place a year later, the Olympic Games is still called Tokyo 2020. T-shirts, mugs, stickers, and other branded items will reflect that.

The games won the title “Olympics of Recovery” (Photo: KIM KYUNG-HOON / AFP)

Will there be someone in the stands?

Until now, the Japanese public is allowed to attend the events. However, most international visitors will not be able to enter Japan to participate in the games. Athletes, officials and some members of the press will be excluded. International fans are interested in when and how to get their tickets refunded. It might take some time.

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Will there be a relay with the torch?

Yes, the relay began on March 25 in Fukushima, Japan, the opening ceremony was closed to the public, and the routes were not announced until 30 minutes before it began. Viewers can only watch the relay in the areas they live in, and calling for encouragement is prohibited. Some torchbearers, including some famous people, withdrew from participating.

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What about the sexism of Olympic officials?

Two senior Olympic Games officials stepped down after making sexist comments. In February, the then organizing committee chair, Yoshiro Mori, resigned after he said that women talk a lot at meetings. The Games’ Creative Director, Hiroshi Sasaki, resigned in March after popular comedian and designer Naomi Watanabe was described as “Olympieg” (a mixture of English Olympic and pigs).

How often are the Olympic Games held?

The Summer and Winter Olympics alternate every two years. Due to the postponement of the 2020 Summer Games, the 2022 Winter Games will be held just six months after the Tokyo Olympics. The Summer Olympics will return in 2024. The tradition of the four-year Olympic Games originated in the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, which began in 776 BC. And it lasted every four years until the year 394 AD.

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Where will the next games be held?

Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022, making it the first city to host the Winter and Summer Olympics (the Summer Olympics were held there in 2008). In 2024, the summer edition will be in Paris, and in 2028 in Los Angeles. The 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. The host city for the 2030 Winter Games will be chosen in 2023.

Predictions by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) indicate that the torch will pass throughout Tokyo Prefecture.Photo: Charlie Triballio / AFP
Predictions by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) indicate that the torch will pass throughout Tokyo Prefecture.Photo: Charlie Triballio / AFP

How many times has Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games?

One in 1964. Japan also hosted the Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.

Has any version of the Olympics ever been canceled or postponed?

The games were never postponed, but canceled due to the two World Wars. It was inconvenient to hold the 1916 Olympic Games in Berlin when the First World War broke out. The 1940 Winter Games were to be held in Sapporo, Japan at another difficult time. When it became clear that it was not going to happen, it was rescheduled … to Germany. Needless to say, this Olympic Games and the following Summer Olympics, which were to be held in Tokyo for some reason, did not happen. Nor were the Summer and Winter Games of 1944 held in the United Kingdom and Italy respectively.

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Outside of the pandemic, is the city ready?

Unlike other modern venues, especially Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Tokyo appears to have its stadiums and infrastructure in order, although there are sometimes surprises with the arrival of the athletes.

What is the time difference?

Tokyo is 12 hours ahead of Brazil.

Where can I see the calendar?


Statues Olympic and Paralympic Games Image: Reproduction
Statues Olympic and Paralympic Games Image: Reproduction

What is the amulet?

Miraitowa is the mascot for the Tokyo Olympics, and Someity, Paralympic Games. The name Miraitowa is taken from the Japanese words for “future” and “immortality.” The name for some comes from a type of cherry tree. It is up to you to judge what animals or creatures look like.

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What are the new sports and events?

Baseball and softball are back after a 13-year absence. New sports are karate, surfing, climbing and skiing. Additionally, some new events have been added for traditional sports, including 3 × 3 basketball and Madison in Cycling, which is a doubles competition. The various sports will add other relays and tournaments for mixed teams, including track and field, swimming, triathlon, archery, and table tennis.

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What is the sport of climbing?

A competition in which athletes compete to climb different types of walls. Specialties are speed, rock, and difficulty.

Are you really going surfing?

Yes, in the ocean near Shidashita Beach, about 60 kilometers from Tokyo. The waves will be much smaller than some of the most popular in places like Tahiti, Hawaii, and Australia. Surfers will be able to show off their acrobatics and skills more than larger waves.

What events were ignored?

Although wrestling was eliminated at some point in the 2020 games, it eventually returned to the program, so no sport was left out. Some men’s competitions have been suppressed in different sports in favor of women’s championships to bring the games closer to parity between the sexes.

How do you decide which events are added or removed?

The International Olympic Committee selects the sports to be included in the Olympiad. The committee is looking for those who are popular around the world and trying to make different regions have some sport in which they can succeed. Gender equality has also been a major concern of the committee for several decades, and as proof of this, this century has added female competitions to sports such as boxing and wrestling.

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Will Russia participate?

Yes and no. After evidence of state-subsidized doping emerged at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the country was banned from international sport for four years in December 2019, although that ban was cut in half. In something similar to what happened at the 2018 Olympics, some Russian athletes without a history of doping may compete in Tokyo, but they will not formally represent their country. They will be registered with a designated title, such as “Neutral Russian Athletes”. The Russian anthem will not be sung and the flag will not be displayed. Russian athletes can compete individually and as a team, if ranked. Russia ranked the women’s water polo team, for example.

Will North Korea participate?

No, the country will be absent from the games “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis due to a virulent viral infection,” as stated on the government website. North Korea has participated in all games since 1972, except for 1984, in Los Angeles when it joined the Soviet province, and in 1988, in Seoul, South Korea, North Korean athletes won 16 gold medals.

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Do athletes pay?

The International Olympic Committee does not award cash prizes to winners. But many national federations pay athletes who win medals.

When did the modern Olympics begin?

In 1896, when Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin began to revive the ancient Greek Games. The first Olympic Games in Athens involved male-only competitors who played nine sports.

What do the Olympic rings mean?

The five rings, in blue, yellow, black, green and red, date back to 1912 and were designed by De Coubertin. The colors were chosen so that all the flags of the world had at least one color. The reason for the existence of five mysterious rings: It can represent the five inhabited continents or the five Olympic Games held at the time of conception. There is no specific meaning to any single episode.

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