The Olympics is usually a massive international event that for a few weeks brings the whole world together. However with the games already put back to 2021 from 2020 and the ongoing pandemic showing no sign of abating, the games organisers are concerned that the Tokyo Olympics will turn into a super spreader event of epic proportions.
This means that international spectators are not allowed at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee made their decision back in March and anyone who bought tickets will be refunded.
The decision was not taken lightly. It followed a virtual meeting between the Five Parties. These are the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympics Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the Organizing Committee Tokyo 2020 and the Government of Japan. The IOC and IPC have already said that they “fully respect and accept this conclusion.”
Although we all hoped and expected that delaying the Tokyo Games would enable the event to continue as normal, the current situation surrounding the pandemic continues to evolve. There have been several new strains of the Coronavirus identified and although Japan has had a far lower death rate than either the USA or UK, there are no grounds for complacency.
Despite the lack of international spectators Tokyo 2020 will go ahead as planned. The Games take place from July 23rd to August 8th, with the Paralympics taking place from August 24th to September 5th.
The torch relay is still going ahead. It began on March 25th 2020 and although infection measures are in place, the organisers are managing to handle this important feature of the Olympic build up.
However Tokyo 2020 is likely to be a very muted occasion. One feature of the Olympics is the atmosphere of the stadium and the sheer excitement of witnessing such a big occasion and enjoying top level sport and record breaking.
For athletes, Tokyo 2020 comes as a pinnacle of hard years of training but obviously the absence of the crowd will have an effect.
However as with other professional sport, the Olympics will still be enjoyed by viewers around the world. We have all become accustomed to watching sport these days from an empty stadium so the Tokyo Olympics will not be doing anything out of the ordinary. In addition there will be a limited number of Japanese tickets on sale so the stadiums are unlikely to be completely empty.