Tokyo 2020

It was not supposed to turn out like this.

When Japan was awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics on September 7, 2013, the country was only six months removed from a Level 7 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

There was a belief that their bid would fall through as a result. It didn’t. They gave reassurances that Tokyo was safe from radiation, and the contaminated water leaks into the Pacific Ocean were of no threat to Tokyo’s residents.

Okay. Fine. Good.

Japan had submitted a bid for the 2008 and 2016 Olympic Summer Games, respectively, but had come up short each time. Bids aren’t cheap. They’re budget for the 2016 bid was $150 million. They’re budget for the 2020 bid was half of that.

So, here was a country that had tried, repeatedly, to bring the entire world back to Japan for an Olympics. And they finally did. Jubilation!

The Government hoped to attract 8.5 million tourists during the event. Just think about that.

The Olympics are only 17 days. All of those tourists, plus all of the Japanese people who are going to flock to Tokyo to be a part of the world’s greatest sporting spectacle.

Cash is King. Think of all that potential revenue. Every dollar is coveted.

The original budget for the Games was around $7.4 Billion.

The budget, now, is $15.4 Billion.

However, it is said that spending is currently over $20 Billion.

The postponement cost them $2.8 Billion.

To put that in perspective, the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro cost $13 Billion. They were a financial disaster. Three months after the Games ended, the state was broke. Six months after it ended, facilities were starting to fall apart.

Venues went unused and private owners couldn’t be found to run them.

All you have to do is look up deserted Olympic venues on Google and you’ll be hit with them right away. The YouTube videos are eerie.

Rio wasn’t the first place this happened. It happens just about everywhere. Look up what became of the venues in Athens, Greece after the 2004 Summer Olympics.

It’s sad, really.

It’s as if 100 students were at a house party – didn’t even know whose house it was – trashed the place, and left before the cops showed up.

The Olympics are expensive. Facilities are expensive. Sure, it’s great when fans are coming through the turnstiles and sitting in seats. But what about when they aren’t? Someone still has to maintain that facility. That costs money.

And if there is no plan to maintain it, or if there is no plan to convert it into something useful beyond major sporting events, then it’s just going to sit there and rot.

Countries are lucky if they break even on the Olympics.

But the Olympics are so much more than money, right? Right!

They are about competition, unity, culture, and so much more. I mean that, sincerely.

For the host country, they can galvanize a nation. I still remember the impact the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver had on Canadians. You don’t forget the feelings you had, or where you were when big moments happened.

Those Olympics moulded us.

There was so much pride and excitement. It was like we had renewed our Canadian nationality vows and were reminded why we love Canada.

COVID-19 has taken away many things over the last year and a half. As a result, Japan doesn’t get to experience the Olympics the way they had hoped. All the anticipation that had been building, since 2013, won’t be completely fulfilled.

Tokyo is under its fourth state of emergency. Protestors outside the stadium could be heard from inside, during the Opening Ceremony. Many feel as though the Government put the Olympics ahead of the health and safety of its people.

You know what, that’s a fair complaint.

I should note that Japan can’t pull out of the Olympics on their own. Only the International Olympic Committee can cancel the Olympics. That’s the contract.

Unfortunately, this is about money. I’m sorry I have to say that because of course, the health and safety of everyone should be the top priority at all times, especially during a global pandemic.

But, I’ll say it again – unfortunately, this is about money.

There are Billions at stake, in terms of broadcasting contracts. I know some people don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. And without any fans in the stands, some money needs to be recouped somewhere.

The economic losses are already going to be devastating. Japan is going to feel this for decades.

Sure, there are still sponsors, but not as many as there would have been. Toyota – Japan’s top automaker, pulled their advertisements a few days ago as to distancing itself from the negative feelings associated with these Olympics.

There are no fans buying tickets, food, or merchandise (imagine all the merchandise!). No kiosks or booths set up by sponsors. No business for local restaurants and shops. No boost for public transit. Nothing.

Just athletes and thousands of empty seats that have never been sat in.

Tokyo 2020 is a different experience.

The thoughts, feelings, and memories associated with these Olympics will not be what they should have been. Both, from a fan’s perspective and an athlete’s perspective.

Personally, I find that really sad and unfortunate.

What are your thoughts on the Olympics? What do you remember from the time(s) your country hosted the Olympics?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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13 Responses to Tokyo 2020

  1. This really is sad – watching some women’s 4×100 heats now, and Im not really a “watch sports” type if girl as you know, but I love certain olympic things like swimming and gymnastics. But it is sooooo quiet! Weird!

    Thar being said, I understand the olympics continuing more than professional sports. These athletes in my have so many chances for Olympics. So I can understand keeping them going. Still we ARE in a global pandemic still and people need to get some priorities straight.

    I do remember when Canada had winter Olympics about 10ish years ago. I was in university and working at a grocery store the night when Canadian men won hockey and it was INSANE after lol the noise from outside, and even having to drive home right after.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Sports without fans takes so much away from the viewing experience and I’m sure the athletes miss the energy that fans provide. Though I’m sure the silence help them settle the nerves and not think too much about “Holy cow, I’m at the Olympics ahhhh”.

      I think only 23% of people in Japan are fully vaccinated. If the Olympics were in the US, there’d be full stadiums of people. It’s just unfortunate how it all played out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww yes for sure! Although one commercial I keep seeing says that you can send your cheers to the athletes LOL they make a playlist for them to listen to?

        I hope that all the spaces are used after. I did hear today that the skate board park is only temporary for the games. Although Japan did win gold today so maybe it will be kept for all the new skateboarding hype that will explode after the games 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Haha they are definitely not going to be listening to those playlists. It’s just a marketing thing.

        Yeah the organizing committees always say “this will be used for ____ when the games are done.” Sometimes they follow through, other times they realize they have no use for a sport facility for the rest of the year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Awww well I hope that it gets better. Cos you’re right – seeing the venues after all abandoned is creeps

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sabrina B says:

    I haven’t watched any Olympic events yet (I’m mostly into gymnastics, but I’ll watch others as well), and I think part of it is because all of these things are n the back of my mind. It’s just such a strange, alien feeling surrounding the Olympics this year. I feel for the athletes, who have been training so long for this. I feel for the city of Tokyo, for so many reasons. I feel for the countries still suffering so it doesn’t feel celebratory.

    It’s been a weird few years man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It’s all very weird. For some athletes, this will be their only trip to the Olympics and they’re getting about 20% of the actual experience. It just sucks. Tokyo deserved better.

      I think Gymnastics is happening now on one of the TSN channels!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Tokyo really did deserve better! It’s such an interesting city too, it should have been a really cool Olympics game for everyone involved. Everyone deserves better!

        Oh dear I will have to try and find it replaying somewhere.

        Like

  3. peckapalooza says:

    I always look forward to the Olympics, both summer and winter. Because it’s like I can suddenly become an expert in judging gymnastics events or synchronized diving every four years and then forget those sports even exist.

    It’s kinda funny, you posting this, because I’ve been talking with a friend about a lot of these issues over the last couple of days. It really is sad to see what becomes of all these gorgeous venues only a few months after the Olympics pack up and move out. He had an idea that I thought was kind of brilliant: Just pick one place that plays host to the Olympics every time. Maybe one place for the summer games and another for the winter. But that way you have the facilities built and ready to go every four years. Sure, you’d lose that bit of national pride if your country never gets to host the Olympics again, but your country also never has to worry about shouldering that debt anymore either.

    Oh, and it was hard not to view the US as a huge group of bullies marching into the Opening Ceremonies last night. We’re like Iceland in Mighty Ducks 2. “Here we come, y’all! Saviors of the world! Just go ahead and give us all the medals!” Ugh… Americans. Wait… I’m American. I mean… Go, USA!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Gymnastics is way too fast for me to even know how many flips and spins they did in the air. Yet the second they land, the analyst is like “Ohhh wow they did a quadruple twist double hand spring flip”. That said, I’m pretty sure they have a script in front of them of what the person is going to perform, but still!

      That would be good a idea. They’d never do it for many reasons – probably don’t want to exhaust local sponsorship money – but it’s a good one. One idea I’ve heard is having one city/country host both the Summer and Winter Olympics 2 years apart. Unfortunately that would eliminate a lot of warm weather countries from ever hosting, but it would allow the host country to reconfigure the venues and at least have a shot at making money.

      Haha I also got that bully feeling watching them walk in.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bex says:

    I’ve not given the logistics of the Olympics much thought before; thank you for opening my eyes. I spent a good bit of time yesterday watching and so far my 2 favorite things that have happened have been 1) at the start of the men’s triathlon a boat was in the way of about 1/3 of the competitors so they couldn’t properly start-they had to call everyone that did start back so they could start again and 2) the coach of the Australian swimmer that beat Ledecky went absolutely nuts when she won.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yes! The beginning of the triathlon was hilarious. I don’t know how that happens. Did the race official not see the large boat??? 2) That coach was great!

      Like

  5. Dutch Lion says:

    Very sad indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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