In March of 2020, the International Olympics Committee made an announcement postponing the start and end dates of the summer 2020 Olympics to July 23 and Aug. 8 of 2021. As the new year approaches, Japan has begun preparations to host the Olympics along with the Paralympics in its capital city, Tokyo.
After COVID-19 started spreading rapidly, the world went on pause with a global lockdown. Due to the uncertainty, the Olympics’ dates moved in order to ensure the safety of the athletes, along with the safety of the citizens of Japan.
Once the world became aware of the state of the Olympics, the guidelines for when an athlete would need to qualify changed. According to the Tokyo Olympics official website, the qualification dates extended until June 29. Some athletes who previously qualified for the summer of 2020 Olympics automatically gained a spot on their country’s team.
The Tokyo Olympics arranged to host a record of 33 competitions, with 339 events in around 42 competition venues in Japan, as per the Tokyo Olympics official website. The sports for the Olympics range from artistic gymnastics, to canoe slalom, to taekwondo along with many more. The Paralympics plan to host 22 competitions such as badminton, rowing and wheelchair rugby.
Although many changes have taken place for the upcoming games, many traditions remain the same. The schedule for the torch relay features many aspects of Japanese culture, embodying the host country. Starting on March 25, 2020, figures from all of Japan’s 47 prefectures will hold the position of torchbearer. The theme of the relay is “Hope Lights Our Way,” a motivating force of unity for the Japanese.
As of now, Japan plans to have overseas spectators attending the 2020 Olympics. The committee even has lists of ways to safely stay in the Japanese heat, activities to expect and the Japanese etiquette for tourists. Ticket sales for the postponed dates have not started, but if people previously purchased them, they may get a refund.
The Olympics committee, specifically those whose positions revolve around health and safety, plan to meet again and release concrete COVID-19 guidelines involving all aspects of the games in spring of 2021. These guidelines take into consideration the current cases and the ways in which the committee plans to deal with COVID-19 cases.