From 24 July to 9 August this year, Tokyo and Japan will be at the centre of the world’s attention as the next hosts of the Olympic Games. With 339 events in 33 sports, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will have plenty of sporting highlights this summer; but even before the Games have begun, there is already “an unprecedented level of excitement” for the Games, according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission Chair John Coates.
Presenting at the IOC Session in Lausanne, the Tokyo 2020 delegation, led by its CEO Toshiro Muto, highlighted the high levels of engagement both at home and abroad. According to Tokyo 2020, 8.8 million applications for Olympic Games tickets have been received since domestic sales started, with 3.6 million tickets being sold in the first phase of sales alone, exceeding the organisers’ expectations.
In addition, over 535,000 applications have been received for 10,000 torchbearer positions for the Olympic Torch Relay, which will begin in Greece on 12 March. The Japanese leg of the Relay will get underway on 26 March in Fukushima, and will tour all 47 prefectures of Japan over 121 days. There were also over 200,000 applications to be volunteers for the Tokyo Games.
Internationally, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Truce resolution was adopted at the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December last year, with 186 countries co-sponsoring the resolution.
Tokyo also now has 79 commercial partners, including both Worldwide and domestic partners. This strong support by both international and local companies has helped the Organising Committee to unveil its latest budget with revenues of USD 5.9 billion, while expenditures are USD 300 million lower at USD 5.6 million.
On the venue front, eight of the nine new venues to be used for the Games are now complete, while the Tokyo Aquatics Centre will be ready next month. The Olympic Village was also handed over to the Organising Committee in December after completion of the permanent structures. The Mayor of the Village will be Saburo Kawabuchi, an Olympian in football and former President of the Japan Football Association.
Last November, the decision was made to move the marathon and race walk events to Sapporo. In December, the IOC Executive Board approved Sapporo Odori Park as the venue for the start and finish lines, while all courses have been approved thanks to close cooperation with World Athletics. With regard to the competition schedules, it was decided that the events will take place over the final four days of the Games, from 6 to 9 August.
The organisers noted that they are continuing to work on refining their heat countermeasure plans for each venue and stakeholder across the Games theatre.
Tokyo 2020 is also working hard to deliver sustainable Games, which was acknowledged through its ISO 20121 certification, an internationally recognised standard for sustainable management systems, last November. In another sustainability initiative, Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota will provide around 3,700 vehicles for the Tokyo Games, of which 90 per cent will be electric vehicles, with 500 hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.
Transport plans have also been tested for the Games and refined to ensure good transport conditions for the athletes.
With only 196 days to go, the Tokyo organisers were congratulated on their successes so far, and encouraged to keep up their good work in this final stretch of preparations.