What is happening with the Tokyo Olympics 2021?
By Elliot Snaith
With only 134 days until the Tokyo Olympics is set to start, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach has announced that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in what will be the most expensive Olympics ever.
After the postponement of the Olympics on the 24th March 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the games are set to go ahead a year on in what will be a ‘safe and secure’ Olympics according to Thomas Bach.
The Olympics being held in Japan has led to many controversies as more than 80% of people who live in the country who were surveyed in two polls in January say the Tokyo Olympics should be cancelled or postponed.
When the polls were released, Suga Yoshihide declared a state of emergency on the 7th January when cases were at 6600 a day and hospital occupancy was at 80% which at the time would suggest why people would have voted against this. As of today, Japan are finally ending the state of emergency in certain areas after extending them in February but for the next two weeks it has been extended in Tokyo and three other prefectures. The state of emergency has seemed to work though with cases around Japan being as of yesterday at 1259 with 340 of them being in Tokyo where the games are being held.
The Japanese Government have also lost the people with how expensive the games are costing with all but $6.7 billion being the publics money. In an online news conference back in December, organisers said the Olympics will cost $15.4 billion to stage. Which was $12.6 billion previously in 2020 when the games were meant to be held meaning the Coronavirus Pandemic has caused them to spend an extra $2.8 billion.
In 2013, Tokyo said the cost of hosting the games would be $7.3 billion when they won the bid, however 7 years later it has cost more than 2012 Olympic games in London which was $14.95 billion making it the most expensive summer games. It is rumoured that costs of Japan hosting the Olympics will be considerably more than what is being stated with it rumoured to be around $26 billion.
For the Tokyo games there are going to be 43 venues which has caused the majority of there budget to go over what they thought it would cost. The Olympic opening and closing ceremony will be hosted in their brand new 68,000 seated stadium costing them $1.4 billion which was rumoured to be around $2 billion before the stadium designers were swapped. From the 43 venues, eight are entirely new and ten have been set up temporarily. There have also been 21 buildings set up for the Olympic Village where the athletes will stay when they are in Tokyo for the games costing the Government $2 billion which will be sold to the public after the games are finished in which Toshiro Muto, CEO of the organizing committee, suggests the games should be looked at as an investment rather than a cost. The brand-new aquatics centre has cost around $540 million but like most venues which have been created it is still not sure whether spectators will be allowed in or not and if they allowed in what the capacity would potentially be.
The Olympics is attracted by spectators all around the world with millions flying to the host country for the 2 weeks to watch the games, however this year could be very different to that. It is rumoured that 20% of the ticket sales at an Olympics is from foreign spectators and 80% are usually from the host country.
With the Coronavirus Pandemic still in full flow it is rumoured that Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said a decision on spectators would be made before the 25th March but these rumours seem to be strong that they wont be allowed over due to the public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries with Japan finding 345 people in 21 prefectures out of the countries 47 with one of the new variants yesterday.
The 25th March also sees the start of the Olympic torch relay begin however because of the coronavirus no spectators will be allowed to watch the relay take place. The relay itself will also see the oldest person in the world carry the torch at 118 years old. Kane Tanaka is the oldest person in the world and has lived through Two World Wars as well as two pandemics making her the oldest Olympic torch bearer ever beating the record from 2016 Rio Olympics holder Aida Gemanque, aged 106.
Another controversial decision which is viewed not only by the people in Japan but by many around the world is how late they have been with there coronavirus vaccines. As the hosts of the Olympics and a population of 126 million the vaccine rollout only began on the 17th February in the country which is 2 months later then the UK and United States. Yoshihide Suga believes everyone over the age of 16 will be vaccinated in Japan by the end of June which would be around 3 weeks before the games are set to begin.
As of today, the latest news is that The Chinese Olympic Committee has offered Covid vaccine doses for those competing at the summer Games and at the 2022 winter Games in Beijing. Whilst it is not mandatory to be taken to compete at the games it a great opportunity for the athletes to stay protected whilst competing in Tokyo. However, many people believe this is just a PR stunt by China due to the current boycotts of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's treatment of the Uighurs.
The Tokyo 2021 Olympics seem to be one of the most unpopular Olympics ever and if the games do not go ahead this year it could be potentially cancelled with a huge loss, as Japan would not be able to recuperate any of there money as well as this the IOC would also face a huge loss as 91% of their budget is down to selling broadcast rights and sponsorships causing them also to be in financial trouble meaning the Olympic games must go on at all costs otherwise it could be a disaster for everyone involved with how much money was put into hosting the Olympics as they have gone over there original budget set out in 2013 by $19 billion.