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  • Tokyo 2020 Should we say.

  • Tokyo 2021.

  • It was an Olympics like no other but not because of the ambition of the organizers or amazing athletic performances.

  • Those were great.

  • These games happened during a global pandemic that was turning the world upside down with thousands of athletes, Olympic dreams hanging in the balance.

  • The show had to go on and it did eventually.

  • So how did the organizers pull it off?

  • And what is the games legacy now that Tokyo's Olympic flame has gone out.

  • Yeah, yeah, 1960 for the new prosperous Japan, the fifth largest industrial power in the world and the only one in 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were supposed to be.

  • Tokyo's returned to the spotlight and a nostalgic nod to the success of the 1964 Summer Games.

  • That edition marked Japan's economic ascendancy and helped propel the nation onto the global stage, with the country becoming the world's second largest economy just four years later.

  • Now, the world's third largest economy after china.

  • The Japanese government and the Games organizers had high hopes for the 2020 Games set on making strides in areas like diversity and sustainability.

  • The predicted numbers for the 2020 olympics before covid were astounding 204 countries and regions participating about 11,000 olympic in 4400 paralympic athletes, 78,000 volunteers and 20 million nonresident visitors.

  • You can't put on an event this big without contingency plans.

  • Even without a pandemic to contend with for Rio.

  • There were concerns about the zika virus and water quality.

  • Tokyo's contingency plans were largely centered around natural disasters like an earthquake or typhoon.

  • Though the risk of infectious disease wasn't ignored.

  • Like a lot of people that took a while before we started to realize how significant this outbreak was becoming and the fact that it would indeed have implications.

  • Dr brian Mccloskey is an expert on the management of infectious disease outbreaks.

  • He set up the public health system for the 2012 Games in London and served as an advisor to the International Olympic committee or IOC for RIO and Tokyo's Games.

  • We started looking at what Tokyo would have to do to ensure that the Games could be run safely in 2020.

  • And the eventual conclusion was that because we understood relatively little about coronavirus at that stage, because every country is trying to work out the best way of dealing it in their country and protecting their population, it was probably unreasonable to ask the Japanese government to do that and to run the games in 2020 at the same time in late March 2020 the Games were officially postponed news that served as an abrupt end to the olympic dream for some and a blessing for others.

  • First three months, I didn't scare at all because corona's going crazy.

  • People like really scared about a coronavirus when we went into lockdown, it was just how am I going to be able to train for the olympics this summer when we can't do anything.

  • I panicked.

  • Probably training for the olympics is usually a full time job.

  • One that many athletes begin preparing for from a very young age kate french a british modern pentathlete and Yuto Horigome a Japanese professional skateboarder.

  • We're no different despite the uncertainty at the time.

  • Hidemasa Nakamura Tokyo's chief games delivery officer knew how important it was to give athletes like Yuto and kate some clarity.

  • It is very easy to say we will provide the game if the situation will be approved to be safe.

  • But for the R street they had their plan to the training so we have to announce the specific time frame.

  • The japanese government and the IOC settled on a one year delay, which experts informed them should be enough time for Covid 19 vaccines to become available and thus the countdown clock was reset giving organizers time to get public health measures in place and athletes the time to train up after several months off.

  • We were really, really lucky that we could train solidly from from coming back but obviously we still weren't allowed to travel or go to any competitions.

  • It was actually really, really hard because we didn't know for sure if the olympics were still going to go ahead.

  • There's, there's still a lot of question marks around it as the more contagious delta variant spread across the globe.

  • Japan began to see its covid 19 cases rice too.

  • Overseas Spectators had already been banned in March and the alarming trajectory in the summer ultimately forced the Japanese government to issue a state of emergency, meaning local fans were barred from the stands as well.

  • That was unwelcome news for a Japanese public already falling out of love with the idea of hosting the games.

  • A survey conducted before the event found 87% of respondents had some concerns about the event, with more than 30% saying the Olympic and Paralympic should be canceled.

  • But despite some protesters lining up outside the opening ceremony, the first olympic games without Spectators were in motion at a time when vaccination efforts were barely rolling out an impressive 80 to 90% of the people traveling to Tokyo had been vaccinated what was not acceptable to all sorts of.

  • The international olympic committee was a situation where in essence athletes from rich countries could get to the Games, but athletes from poorer countries who couldn't get vaccinated wouldn't make it to the Games.

  • So we decided early on that vaccination could not be mandatory for the games, but would be recommended for those people who could do it on the ground.

  • There were the public health measures, we've become familiar with social distancing, personal hygiene wearing masks and better ventilation.

  • There was also robust track and test strategy with half a million vials of saliva collected across the two week period.

  • And then there was the so called olympic bubble, difficult to describe.

  • An olympic village of 11.5 1000 athletes as a bubble dr mccloskey says a more appropriate term would be closed loop management.

  • They were allowed to go from the village to the training venues and the competition venues but they weren't allowed to go out and about around Tokyo, they weren't allowed to use public transport and they couldn't really leave the essential environment of the village and the venues, all the athletes were there to perform and to perform at their best so you actually felt really, really safe in the village.

  • These measures allowed athletes to do what they do best compete and for kate and Yuto they walked away with a gold medal to show for their efforts.

  • Still can't believe it happened really.

  • It's something that you just dream about for so long and to be able to bring it all together on that one day that matters.

  • It was really, really special.

  • Utah's gold made history.

  • He won the olympics first ever skateboarding gold medal.

  • I was really happy I won the gold and I bring the gold in my hometown.

  • I feel like I won for like my friends and my family, it was really important for me.

  • Japan ended up skating away with three out of the four gold medals in the discipline and especially impressive achievement for a country where the sport is illegal in most of its cities, public spaces, Yuto and his teammates are helping to shed its bad rap in Japan Schiavone has a little bit like a bad image, but now it's like skateboarding.

  • The olympics actually like real sports now, skate parts are packed with parents signing their kids up for lessons and there's even a push for the area.

  • K Sports urban Park, home of the skateboarding and BMX events to become a permanent fixture despite original plans for it to be torn down.

  • Japan's changing attitudes extended to the Games themselves to With the country winning 58 medals, 27 of them gold.

  • The public gradually came on board with domestic TV ratings nearing highs not seen since the 1964 Olympics.

  • It also helped that the games didn't become the super spreader event.

  • Everyone feared Nobuko kobayashi, a partner at Ey Japan, one of the game's sponsors, has been analyzing the legacy of the games.

  • Tokyo pulled it off.

  • There was no major disasters was executed in a safe environment and although there was a spike in summer, little of it was attributed to the games itself.

  • The city of Tokyo was under a state of emergency throughout the Games, but it wasn't until a month after the end of the paralympics that the summer wave ended an emergency measures were lifted.

  • So with all of that in mind, did the Games public health measures even work.

  • They were a success.

  • I'm very certain of that.

  • If you look at the number of positive tests That we had across the games, odd tests and less than 500 positive results.

  • Now that is far far less than any other testing scheme around the world.

  • And if you look at the mixture between what happened among the domestic population and the international population, there is no sign that any mixing happened whatsoever.

  • The games did not impose any covid burden on Japan despite the loss of in person Spectators, the game still drew huge attention from fans watching at home the withdrawal of superstar gymnast simone biles from the team and all around gymnastics finals, focused conversations around the importance of athletes, mental health.

  • However, Tokyo's diversity initiatives suffered an embarrassing false start.

  • The president of the organizing committee and the Games creative director were both forced to resign over sexist comments.

  • It was a little bit ironic because it really revealed the lack of understanding on the part of the older generation in Japan regarding diversity, but it was also a blessing in disguise, I think because it was a catalyst.

  • They have more open discussion.

  • Seven time Olympian Hashimoto Seiko was appointed the new president of the Tokyo organizing committee and she appointed a further 12 women to the executive board, bringing female representation to 42%.

  • The number of mixed events at the olympic games grew from eight in London 2012 to 18.

  • In Tokyo.

  • Nearly 49% of the athletes competing were women and Tokyo was billed as the first ever gender balance summer Games.

  • Other achievements included the game's first openly trans athletes taking part and the construction of Japan's first permanent L G B T.

  • Q.

  • Center Pride House sustainability was also at the top of the agenda, falling in the same year as the high profile cop 26 climate Conference.

  • But with massive venues having been built and hardly utilized by fans, it's difficult to portray the event as climate friendly.

  • The challenges did present some opportunities though.

  • We made it in the social movement, we asked the Tokyo citizen and Japanese people to donate their used cellphone and that will make medals.

  • I think Japanese people have some feeling of involvement to the games.

  • The olympic podiums were made of recycled plastic, the torch of recycled aluminum, the beds of cardboard and timber used in some of the temporary structures will be converted to public buildings and benches.

  • More impressive is the fact that only eight new competition venues were built from scratch.

  • Another 10 were temporary structures.

  • The rest more than half are older buildings, five of which were originally built for the 1964 games.

  • The olympic village will be converted into a large scale condominium complex called Harumi Flag, Hera me flag is made up of three residential areas for sale, an area of rental units and commercial facilities.

  • All in all, there are 5632 residences in the future.

  • Some 12,000 people will live here, making it a grand residential project.

  • The olympic village was developed with the use of hydrogen power in mind.

  • The clean burning gas was also used to power the game's fleet of cars to generate electricity for some facilities and fueled the olympic torch in cauldrons.

  • Organizers mitigated the remaining carbon emissions by acquiring carbon credits.

  • However, climate activists remain adamant that the only way for the olympics to be truly sustainable is for it to get smaller.

  • It's a carbon neutral event and uh, we used the hydrogen energy from the Fukushima and in calculation, we have the carbon neutral games, but the cost is another, another important issue.

  • I think perhaps Tokyo's biggest legacy is providing the building blocks for the upcoming games in paris and Los Angeles, both of which have even more ambitious targets to meet.

  • Despite being virtual, it did give the external world outside Japan the impression that Japan is true to its words and it really stuck up to its commitment to host the olympics.

  • It also paved the way for other large scale events figuring out how to move forward in the age of covid it can be done safely, but it can only be done safely if you put an effort to ensure you have the best possible strategy for the counter measures that you can devise and Tokyo also refocused the spotlight on its most important stakeholders, the athletes.

  • It's real prior to be able to compete for your country.

  • The unity of everyone coming together as one team as well.

  • It's really, really special.

  • I made a dream come true, Thank you for support everyone.

Tokyo 2020 Should we say.

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How Tokyo pulled off the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic – and the legacy it leaves behind

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/12/06
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