10 things you might not know about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
After being postponed a year due to COVID-19, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are finally taking place.
Originally scheduled to take place in 2020, the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic games is happening from Jul 23 to Aug 8.
This is the first time in history that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, and here are 10 things you may not know about the upcoming Games.
1. Despite being held in 2021, the Tokyo Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020
Despite the Olympics being rescheduled for 2021, the event will still be called Tokyo 2020 for branding and marketing purposes.
Sponsors in Japan have been using the logo and branding of Tokyo 2020 on their products since 2015 and a change in name would be expensive to re-advertise and might lead to waste of merchandise that were already produced.
Advertisements of the Games can also be found widely spread on trains, billboards, beverages and television commercials.
2. This is the fourth time that Japan is hosting the Olympics
Apart from the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan has hosted the Olympic Games on three separate occasions.
The first Olympics held in Japan was the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Since then, Japan has hosted two Winter Olympics in 1972 at Sapporo, Hokkaido and in 1998 at Nagano.
Initially, both Tokyo and Sapporo were chosen to host the 1940s Summer and Winter Olympics.
But due to the war breaking out between Japan and China in 1937, the right to host the Games were forfeited by the Japanese Government.
3. Tokyo 2020 might be the most expensive Summer Olympics held
An Oxford University study estimated that Japan has spent US$15.84 billion so far and the final sum might be higher.
This would be the most costly summer games held, as its Tokyo estimated figure is already more than the amount spent on London 2012 – US$15 Billion – which is the most costly Summer Olympics on record.
Initially, when Japan was bidding to host the games in 2013, it was forecasted that they would spend US$7.3 billion on the games.
However, over the past years, audits by the Japanese government estimates that the cost of the Tokyo Games would definitely be higher than stated and will be at least US$25 billion.
4. A survey found that more than 80 per cent of Japanese are opposed to holding the Olympics this year
A two-day weekend survey held in May by the Asahi Shimbun daily found that 83 per cent of respondents want the Tokyo Olympics cancelled or postponed.
Specifically, 43 per cent of respondents want the Games cancelled while 40 per cent want the Games to be further postponed.
This survey was held due to Japan’s fourth wave of COVID-19 infections and its expanded COVID-19 state of emergency.
5. Five new sports are making its debut at the Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020 has added five new sports to the Games – surfing, sport climbing, skateboarding, karate and baseball/softball.
The sports climbing events will take place on artificial climbing walls and will be a combined format featuring speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing.
The surfing event utilises shortboards and takes place on the real waves at Shidshita beach. Four athletes will compete per heat, with the best two of each heat to continue to the next round.
Karate is also making its debut in the Games, joining other martial arts such as judo, boxing, wrestling and taekwondo. It will have two events, kata – a form of discipline and kumite – sparring, for both men and women.
Since its absence after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, baseball and softball will return at the Tokyo 2020 Games. The event will feature the most new athletes, with 144 men and 90 women competing.
Skateboarding will include two events, park and street. In the street event, the competitors perform individually and show off their skills, while the park event will take place on a hollowed out course.
6. The mascot for the Tokyo Olympics Games were voted for by Japanese children
For the first time in the history of the Games, the voting of both Olympic and Paralympic mascots was done by elementary school children.
More than 200,000 classes from around 16,000 Japanese schools, including those overseas, casted their votes over 73 days for their favourite pair of mascots from three sets of choices.
The results were announced on Feb 28, 2018, with the winning mascot designed by Japanese artist Ryo Taniguchi.
The Olympic mascot is named Miraitowa, after the Japanese words for “future” and “eternity”. According to the Tokyo 2020 organisers, the name was chosen to promote a future full of eternal hope in the hearts of people all over the world.
7. Olympic medals are made from recycled materials
The gold, silver, and bronze medals of Tokyo 2020 are entirely made from 78,985 tons of recycled electronics.
For the past two years, Japan sourced out metals to recycle and urged the public to donate. It included metals in used cell phones, laptops, handheld games, and cameras.
Approximately 6.21 million used mobile phones were donated by the public across Japan and the donated electronics were reduced down to approximately 71 pounds of gold, 7,700 pounds of silver and 4,850 pounds of bronze.
8. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch is designed after the shape of a sakura
The 2020 Olympic torch was designed by Tokujin Yoshioka to resemble the shape of a sakura, which is the traditional flower of Japan.
The Olympic Torch Relay’s concept is Hope lights our way, and the sakura-shaped Olympic torch reinforces the concept and incorporates several elements of Japanese culture.
The torch is rose gold in colour, and is made using aluminium recycled from the temporary housing built from the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
Tokujin Yoshioka said: “I designed the Olympic torch in the wishes for peace and healing of hearts of those affected by the natural disasters.”
9. Tokyo 2020 will be the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history
Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-balanced Games in history with almost 49 per cent of the athletes participating made up of females. All 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will also have at least one female and one male athlete in their respective teams.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The IOC is committed to gender equality in all areas, from the athletes competing on and off the field of play to leadership roles in sports organisations.”
10. We can stream the Olympics live in Singapore via Mediacorp
Mediacorp will be the official media network for Tokyo 2020 and will cover the Olympics Games across Mediacorp’s platforms. This includes Mediacorp’s digital service, meWATCH service, meWATCH, Channel 5 and the Mediacorp Entertainment YouTube channel.
It will offer viewers 14 channels broad-ranging live and on-demand coverage of the different events.
Apart from Mediacorp being Singapore’s Olympic broadcaster, Singtel customers can also watch the Olympics for free via Singtel TV, Singtel TV Go and on the CAST mobile application.
Singapore will be represented by 23 athletes, including the country’s first gold medallist Joseph Schooling, across several events in swimming, sailing, gymnastics, fencing, shooting, table tennis, diving, athletics, and badminton.