The postponed Olympics Games is finally here and we have all the details
THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON APRIL 15, 2021, AND UPDATED ON JULY 9, 2021.
Last year, the Tokyo Olympics was postponed due to the Covid-19 virus which was, at that point, raging through the world.
It was a difficult decision to make and one that was not taken lightly; it was eventually decided that it was not safe for the games to go on.
However, Japan's Prime Minister at that time, Shinzo Abe, did say that he hoped that officials could "consider postponing the games by about a year". This was as opposed to the 2020 games being cancelled entirely.
As the world slowly started to get a handle on the virus, Olympics preparations began again in full swing. In fact, the 100-day countdown to the games was kicked off by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach earlier this year to much fanfare.
Unfortunately, mere days before the Olympics was due to begin, Japan had to declare a state of emergency on July 8 as the country continued to see Covid-19 cases in the thousands as a result of the new Delta variant of the virus.
This means that spectators will no longer be allowed at the games. The news comes as a huge blow to all involved especially considering that the organising committee had said that 10,000 spectators would be allowed at each Olympic event just weeks before.
That said, the games will still go on as planned so if you are just as excited as we are about the Olympics happening this year, here is everything we currently know about the upcoming games.
1. When will the Olympics be taking place?
The Tokyo Olympic Games will be taking place from July 23 to August 8. This is almost exactly one year from when the games were originally planned.
In an attempt to optimise facilities and to cut costs, Tokyo will also have 58 per cent of their facilities be existing or temporary. In fact, five of the existing Tokyo 2020 sites were actually used at Tokyo's 1964 Olympics.
2. Who will be participating?
In a statement that was released on the official Olympic site, it was confirmed that "all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged."
This means that everyone that would have participated in the original games will get the chance to participate this year. Team Singapore itself will be sending 23 of their best athletes to the games.
3. Will there be a mascot?
Miraitowa is the official Tokyo Olympics 2020 games mascot. It was styled with the Ai Ichimatsu pattern from the Tokyo Olympic Games emblem and aims to bring together the tradition and innovation of Japanese culture.
Miraitowa has its own Instagram page and you will be able to keep up with all its antics throughout the Olympics by following him.
4. When did the Olympic torch relay begin?
The iconic torch relay started on March 25 in Fukushima, Japan. The torch relay marks the start of the Olympic flame's journey across Japan's 47 prefectures. After which, it will arrive in Tokyo for the opening of the games.
For the first time in the history of the games, the torch will be powered using hydrogen as it makes its way through Japan.
5. What will the medals look like?
In an attempt to be more eco-friendly, Japan got locals to donate their used electronic devices and plastic waste so they could be recycled and turned into Olympic medals and podiums.
Tokyo is the first in the history of the Olympics to manufacture its medals using recycled materials.
To date, over 5,000 medals have been produced through many recycles drives that were conducted nationwide.
6. Will there be any new sports?
This year, five new sports have been added to the Olympic lineup. These sports are surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing, karate and baseball/softball.
Baseball was actually played in the Olympics till 2008. However, it was removed from the lineup. 2021 will be baseball's reintroduction into the competitive games.
Overall, medals will be awarded across 33 sports and 339 events.
7. Will there be spectators?
One of the things people were most interested to know is if spectators would be allowed at the Olympics. Unfortunately, there will not be any spectators after Japan declared a state of emergency on July 8.
This news comes weeks after the Olympics president announced that they would be allowing 10,000 fans at each event.
“In principle, spectators will be admitted to events subject to the above limits,” organisers said in a statement. “In light of the government’s restrictions on public events, the spectator limit for the Olympic Games will be set at 50 per cent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people in all venues”.
However, as the country reported Covid-19 cases in the thousands thanks to the highly infectious Delta Covid-19 variant, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was forced to declare a state of emergency that will last throughout the Olympics.
A decision has yet to be made on if spectators will be allowed for the Paralympics yet.
8. How can I watch the Olympics?
Last year, Mediacorp gained broadcasting rights for the Olympics. It was the first media company in Southeast Asia to secure rights to the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Winter Games.
It announced when the 2020 games were cancelled that this would not change and that they would still retain the broadcasting rights in 2021. This means you will be able to watch the games live on Mediacorp.
However, no official schedule has been released by the company as yet.