15/05/2020

Tokyo 2020, How Japan Has Prepared for the Upcoming Olympics

The Olympics is one of the most famous events in the world, and Japan is trying to keep it that way. Because of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Olympics has been rescheduled to July 23, 2021. Here are the preparations already made, and other things you might appreciate knowing.

Basic information about the Olympics

Due to the outbreak of pandemic COVID-19, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as the Organizing Committee and Government of Japan decided to postpone and reschedule the Olympics on July 23, 2021. This is a practical and reasonable decision for the wellbeing of the athletes and everyone. While the event was postponed, here are some of their preparations that made a difference in the history of the Olympics.

As a sports fan, and even if you’re not,  you definitely  know of this international sports event; where different nations participate and is held every four years. This global sports festival aims to strengthen and overcome the diversity of every nation while advocating peace through sports and friendship. Aside from sports and unification of cultures, the modern Olympics is now adding a cause to their goal by engaging in environmental preservation.

There are 33 sports in the list of the Olympic Games and within these sports there will be 339 events that will be held in 42 different venues in Japan. Olympic village will serve as the home for some 11,000 athletes from around the world that will participate in the competition, loaded with medical facilities and a two-story dining hall. This is a huge preparation for the sports event. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the local committee are taking necessary steps to preserve and prepare the facilities, until the rescheduled date comes, keeping in mind the millions of tickets sold already in Japan.

※Tokyo 2020, "What goes into postponing the Olympic games?"  

What makes Tokyo 2020 different

Extensive preparations are being done by the Tokyo2020 committee and its partners, including the betterment of their English education. Private schools offer a special course for those people that are seeking to be a volunteer of the event. Companies are also doing their part to improve their English capabilities, and services like a twenty-four-hour English hotline will be available to assist non-Japanese speaking tourists. Private security companies were hired to ensure the welfare of each event, as well as countermeasures to fight the high temperature in the months of July and August, were already set.

The construction of the new National Arena, the centerpiece of Tokyo’s Olympics facilities, was also finished in December 2019. Other preparation like the anticipated huge traffic, consideration of the high number of tourists to attend, the creation of an alternative route, transportation, and scheduling of trains are being planned. The use of a facial-recognition ID system during the Tokyo 2020 Games will also be implemented. Testing and preparations are underway for safer and secure access to restricted areas by the officials, athletes, volunteers, and media.

Tokyo 2020 also added five sports in this Summer Olympics:

  1. Karate: A lot of martial arts have been included in the past Olympics, but Karate is making its first appearance in Tokyo2020. Karate is divided into two categories, the Kumite (sparring) and Kata (form). Kumite is a series of blows competition against each body's opponent; the competitor who gains more points within the allotted time will be the winner, while Kata is a series of offensive and defensive movement demonstrations. 

  2. Skateboarding: This is a new sport participating for the first time for the 2020 summer Olympics. The athlete is free to choose the obstacle to perform his/her tricks. It is also divided into two categories - street and park. The street category involves barriers that are expected to be found outdoors like stairs, benches, walls, slopes, etc.. In contrast, the park category contains obstacle courses in a skate park with complicated steep curves. 

  3. Sport Climbing: Similar to Rock Climbing, these sports involve reaching the top of an artificial climbing wall. It is divided into three categories - Speed Climbing, where the athletes rush to the top to beat their opponents, Bouldering is a free climbing form without using ropes, and Lead Climbing where participants follow a particular path up to the top. The athletes will only use their bare hands and climbing shoes to climb, hold, or step on different shapes and sizes of holds aside from rope attachments in other disciplines.

  4. Baseball/Softball: In the 2008 games, the sport was removed due to some conflicts; now, it is making its return in Tokyo2020. The popularity of baseball/softball in Japan played a role in its comeback, and World Baseball Softball Confederation will govern this event. Two 9-player teams will compete, and the team with the highest score after nine innings wins. 

  5. Surfing: In 2016, the International Olympic Committee approved its inclusion, and surfing was added to Tokyo2020. The event will take place in Tsurigasaki Beach outside of Tokyo. The athletes, using shortboards, will compete against each other while riding and balancing toward the shore in the moving waves and glide across the surface of the ocean. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics took a huge step in environmental preservation as they aim towards an eco-friendly sports event. The power that will be used to facilitate each game will come from renewable energy. Relevantly, the athletes opening and closing uniforms will be made out of recycled materials. The committee in charge is hoping to collect 30,000 articles of clothing for the said project.(※)

※ Asics, "ASICS REBORN WEAR PROJECT LAUNCHES JANUARY 24! RECYCLING PROJECT DELIVERS A MESSAGE TO ATHLETES: GIVING SPORTSWEAR WITH SENTIMENTAL VALUE NEW LIFE AS THE OFFICIAL WEAR OF TOKYO 2020 JAPAN OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC TEAM"

Another significant program for a greener event is the creation of Olympic medals entirely made from recycled materials. The project was successful, and this will go down in history as the first summer Olympics to use fully recycled materials on their medals. The project was made possible because Japan encouraged its people to donate their old mobile phones, other gadgets, and other electronic appliances. It contains the necessary recycled metals like gold, silver, and bronze extracted and turned into usable metals needed in the production of medals. The participation of people was encouraged to promote a timely advocate towards a more 'green' way of doing things. Another sustainability concept was the use of cardboard bed frames, which will be recycled into paper later on after the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. 

There are tons of places to go and experience to try before and after the Olympics. If you'll have some free time here's the list of the possible adventures:

  • Sightsee at the top of the Tokyo Skytree

  • Ride a Go Kart with your buddies at Akihabara

  • Try the Japanese rice wine called "Sake"

  • Have a nice and relaxing time at the Japanese Bathhouses called "onsen” and “sento".

  • Visit one of the natural wonders of the world called Mt. Fuji

  • Go to the rental stores and wear a Kimono

Tips for travelers 

The traveler should keep in mind that accommodation can be expensive in Japan, especially during the Olympics. One may be advised to find an alternative like contacting a friend for a home to stay, getting the best deals online by booking early, or finding a Couchsurfing community. Another option is a capsule hotel where you sleep in a tight pod-like space usually consisting of a bed, sockets, and other minimal amenities, or in a hostel where you can also meet a lot of travelers. 

It is also convenient to increase your knowledge about the mode of transportation within and outside of Tokyo. Familiarizing with train stops and bus routes will give an edge to save time going in and out of the venues. It is also advisable to practice the Japanese language not only for basic communication but also for reading instructions like when riding in train stations, schedule of departures and others. Other things might also come handy like determining the possible cheapest food you can have, and how to save money in transportation. 

Summary 

The Olympics is a significant event in the world of sports but due to the existing pandemic, COVID-19, the event was rescheduled on July 23, 2021. Japan and the International Olympic Committee handled the situation with finesse as they took the necessary steps along with the postponement of the event. It is still interesting to know the preparations and what to expect in Tokyo2020 as well as other things that might come in handy for tourists. The world is expecting for this upcoming event to unfold successfully; Japan aims to be the most innovative Olympics host country; surely, it will be.

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