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Tokyo Olympics 2021: 4 Reasons Why This Olympics is Totally Different

tokyo olympic

Even without starting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, they were already the strangest and most different jousts that have been played since the rebirth of the modern Olympics in 1896.

Especially because of the pandemic, which forced them to postpone them for a year.

In the history of the Summer Olympic Games (those that are held in the middle of the year), only three times was the decision to cancel them made: the first, in 1916 with headquarters in Berlin due to World War I.

Then, in 1940, in Tokyo, the Games were suspended by World War II and did not resume until 1948 in London.

And now, the coronavirus pandemic put Tokyo 2020 on the ropes. And although it was thought about canceling the competition, then the decision was made to postpone it, which is in itself an unprecedented fact.

But postponement is not all. Much of Japan remains in a state of emergency, making the Tokyo Olympics the first without a foreign public in decades and quite possibly without a general public on most Olympic venues.


Caption,Due to the pandemic, the Olympic Games to be played in Tokyo will be the most expensive in history.

And as if this is no longer enough to consider them as unique Olympics, at BBC Mundo we present four other reasons why they will be different Games.

1. Record in sports

What brings these jousts is a record of competitions: 33 sports, 50 disciplines and about 11,000 athletes, who will fight for 339 gold medals (and the corresponding silver and bronze).

This is due to the decision made by the IOC to include five more sports compared to those that had a presence in Rio 2016: they are karate, surfing, sport climbing and what is known as skateboarding or skateboarding.

And this is novel because the IOC (International Olympic Committee) had determined since Sydney 2000 that there should be no more than 28 disciplines.

But in addition, baseball and softball, which had been absent for 13 years (they had left the calendar after Beijing 2008), return this time.

And new specialties in traditional sports such as basketball and cycling were also included.

For example, there will be 3×3 basketball and the incorporation of the madison test in cycling, which is done in a team of two.

There will also be new relay sports and other mixed team competitions, including sprinting, swimming, triathlon, archery and table tennis.


Caption,Surfing will be one of the sports that will have its premiere in Tokyo 2020.

And a curiosity: karate, which is included for the first time, will not return in the 2024 Paris Olympics . It will be replaced by breakdancing.

2. The most expensive in history

Let’s say that the fault lies not entirely with the organizers, but the figures provided by the organizing committee in recent months give that data: the Tokyo Olympics will be the most expensive in history.

Until last year, shortly before the start of the pandemic, it had been reported that they would cost about $ 12.6 billion.

Although they exceeded the initial budget by more than five million dollars, they were still below London 2012, which cost approximately US $ 14.5 billion, according to a study published by the University of Oxford.

However, the decision to suspend and postpone the fair in 2020 meant an additional expense of US $ 2.8 billion . And there they did pass all the historical monetary marks.

And as if this extra expense was not impressive enough (the city of Tokyo and the organizing committee had to assume it in shared parts), the decision to not allow spectators in closed stages has now been added.


Caption,Those in Tokyo will be the first Olympiad without a foreign audience in its stands.

Which means that much of the $ 810 million they expected to receive from ticket sales will be lost .

But, above all, according to several analysts, the greatest losses will be for tourism: the visit of about 600,000 people was expected, who will not finally arrive in the country due to the restrictions due to covid-19.

For this reason, among other reasons, different investigations carried out by Japanese academics – such as Katsuhiro Miyamoto, from Kansal University – estimate that the losses will be in the order of US $ 23,000 million.

But it will be necessary to see how the fair will develop to have a balance of the real losses, because canceling them in any case would have represented a total loss of US $ 16,000 million.

3. In odd year: 2021 (but they will still be called Tokyo 2020)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Olympic Games, they will be the first jousts in modern history to be played in an odd year.

Something that seems just anecdotal but has serious repercussions, especially for the organizing committee dor .


Caption,About 600,000 tourists were expected to arrive in Japan for the Olympic Games.

Although they are held in 2021, they will continue to be officially called the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020.

When the decision was made to postpone the Games for a year due to the pandemic, among many questions that arose was whether they were going to change their name and be renamed Tokyo 2021.

But Tokyo Mayor Yuriko Koike was clear: “An odd number is out of the question.”

In fact, shortly thereafter, the IOC issued a statement stating that “it was agreed that the Games will retain the name of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The reason: marketing.

As the journalist Alastair Gale of The Wall Street Journal points out, since Tokyo was designated as the venue for the Olympic Games in 2013, but especially since 2015, Tokyo has been using a logo that it has replicated not only in its marketing products and advertising, but also in everything that has to do with the presentation of scenes and cladding and adornment of cities.

And in all it says Tokyo 2020.

Since 2018 objects have been sold ranging from simple pins that sell for a dollar to golden sculptures with the Tokyo 2020 logo that can cost US $ 15,000.


Caption,The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are the first Olympics to be postponed in history.

In addition, as the Bloomberg news agency indicates, by retaining the name the IOC ensures that it maintains the investment made in other marketing products such as T-shirts, bags, dolls and even the designs of the television broadcasts and, in this way, is avoid increasing costs for event sponsors.

4. Radical ideas for a “green” competition

One of the tasks of the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics is to make the competitions the greenest in history.

For that they have taken several measures that call attention to the novelty.

The first was the decision that the beds in which the athletes will sleep are made of cardboard, so that they can be recycled once the event is over.

The organizers noted that 18,000 beds were built of this material, which has a capacity to resist up to 200 kilos.

Another measure has to do with the precious medals, which are made with recyclable material, especially from discarded cell phones. From them it was possible to extract 32 kilos of gold, 3,500 of silver and 2,200 of bronze that served to produce the 5,000 medals that will be awarded both in the Olympics and the Paralympics.

But his biggest commitment is to reduce carbon emissions during the event. It is expected that during the fair about 2.9 million tons of CO2 will be emitted.


Caption,The Olympic medals were made with recycled material.

This would be below the levels recorded in Rio 2016 (4.5 million tons) and London 2012 – considered the most ecological so far – with 3.3 million tons.

For this, electric vehicles have been arranged to transport athletes and energy generated by solar panels to meet the demand of sports facilities.

However, there are experts who point out that Tokyo simply will not be able to meet the goal.

Others note that these measures are pure appearance and that these may be the greenest Olympics in history but only because of the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic.

“Our research shows that Tokyo’s sustainability record will be near average,” Martin Müller, professor of Human Geography at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and author of the first long-term study of the (no) sustainability of the Olympic Games.

“Ironically, Tokyo’s greatest contribution to sustainability may not have been planned: the adjustments made as a result of the pandemic. This shows that an Olympic Games can be organized with fewer consequences and probably with fewer visitors,” he added.

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