TOKYO – The year of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is coming. That would be 2021.
Since the Olympics were postponed nine months ago, local organizers and the IOC have been waiting for their time. They said we would have to wait until early 2021 for details on how the Olympics could open on July 23 amid a pandemic.
That time is here.
The organizers of the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo will have to start specifying in the next few months. Although modest by world standards, the virus is on the rise in Japan and COVID-19 is responsible for just over 3,000 deaths.
A variant strain has been identified in the country and reports indicate that vaccines will not be widely available until March; not to mention the availability of the vaccine in another 205 countries or territories, which are expected to be represented in Tokyo.
The clock is ticking. Today, the Japanese public seems more skeptical about the wisdom of hosting the Olympics. According to a telephone survey of 1,200 people this month, 63% said the Olympics should be postponed or canceled.
In an interview with CNN this month, Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 medals (23 gold) – said it was doubtful whether the Olympics should take place. The IOC said they could not be postponed again and would be repealed this time.
This would focus attention on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the boycott threats associated with China’s internment of at least 1 million Muslim Uighurs.
“The fact that you build more than 10,000 athletes, plus all the volunteers and all the coaches, plus, plus, plus, plus plus.” It doesn’t make sense to me, “said Phelps. “I just don’t understand how that can happen.” But our fingers have overcome everything with vaccines – and everything is going smoothly on this front. But I think. I don’t know. There is simply too much unknown. “
Question: Despite the uncertainties, what do we know about the Tokyo Olympics?
Answer: Most reliable information is related to expenses. Organizers say the delay will cost another $ 2.8 billion, most of which will be paid by Japanese taxpayers. The official budget for the Olympics is now $ 15.4 billion, which is 22% more than in the previous budget. Government audits over the past few years suggest that the real cost is at least $ 25 billion. Tokyo said the Olympics would cost about $ 7.5 billion at the 2013 awards ceremony.
Question: Will there be fans?
Answer: Yes, probably. However, it is not clear whether fans from abroad will be allowed. Japan has just closed its borders to almost all visitors due to growing cases and the discovery of a coronavirus variant. IOC President Thomas Bach said he expected a “reasonable” number of fans to attend. Fans or no fans, the main interest of the IOC is to get events on television. The sale of broadcasting rights provides 73% of the IOC’s revenues. Blanks will not affect TV coverage. Most sports fans are used to it.
However, the vacancies would cost local organizers ticket sales of approximately $ 800 million.
Question: IOC President Bach is still talking about a “toolbox” for dealing with a pandemic. What’s this?
Answer: Bach secures his bets. He says the IOC and local organizers have many tools to fight the virus. They will not commit to any particular method until the course of the pandemic is clearer within a few months. It is certain that athletes will be told to arrive late, leave as soon as they finish the race, and skip any hiking.
Question: Is there a deadline?
Answer: The Tokyo Olympics were postponed to the end of March. This seems a reasonable date by which many firm decisions must be announced. The torch relay is set to begin in Japan on March 25 and faces massive logistical issues, as does the Olympics with 10,000 runners carrying the torch to all corners of the country. There was some brief speculation about dropping the baton, but it quickly disappeared with the main sponsors Toyota and Coca-Cola.
Question: Is there an Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremony?
Answer: Yes. The opening ceremony of the Olympics usually receives a huge television rating and is an event you have to hold. The organizers assembled a new creative team and many topics had to be removed from the old program. Organizers say the ceremonies will be “simplified” in line with the pandemic situation. Surprisingly, even simplified ceremonies increase costs. Organizers say another $ 35 million is needed for new ceremonies. That’s over the $ 130 million already planned for the ceremonies.
Question: What is the role of sponsors at these Olympics?
A: Dentsu Inc., a giant Japanese advertising agency, has prepared a record 68 domestic sponsors for Tokyo. They have already invested an incredible $ 3.3 billion in the local operating budget. That’s at least twice – maybe three times – as big as at previous Olympics. Last week, these companies, many people accused of a pandemic, still agreed to chip at least $ 200 million more. This will cover a small portion of the cost of the delay, which is $ 2.8 billion. Most of the costs have to be borne by Japanese government entities. The IOC contributes $ 1.3 billion to gaming funding. Everything else is in Japan.
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