2020 Summer Olympics
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2020 Summer Olympics

Games of the XXXII Olympiad
2020 Summer Olympics logo new.svg
Host cityTokyo, Japan
MottoUnited by Emotion[a]
Nations205 (expected)
Athletes11,091 (expected)
Events339 in 33 sports (50 disciplines)
Opening23 July 2021
Closing8 August 2021
Opened by
Emperor Naruhito (expected)
StadiumJapan National Stadium

The 2020 Summer Olympics (Japanese: 2020, Hepburn: Nisen Nij?-nen Kaki Orinpikku), officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (, Dai Sanj?ni-kai Orinpikku Ky?gi Taikai), and also known as Tokyo 2020 (2020, T?ky? ni-zero-ni-zero[2]), is an upcoming international multi-sport event scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Originally due to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, the event was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not allow international spectators.[3][4] Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020 name for marketing and branding purposes.[5] This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.[6]

Tokyo was selected as the host city during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 7 September 2013.[7] The 2020 Games will mark the second time that Japan has hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the first being also in Tokyo in 1964, making this the first city in Asia to host the Summer Games twice. Overall, these will be the fourth Olympic Games to be held in Japan, which also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 (Sapporo) and 1998 (Nagano). The 2020 Games will also be the second of three consecutive Olympics to be held in East Asia, the first being in Pyeongchang County, South Korea in 2018, and the next in Beijing, China in 2022.

The 2020 Games will see the introduction of new competitions including 3x3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and madison cycling, as well as further mixed events. Under new IOC policies, which allow the host organizing committee to add new sports to the Olympic program to augment the permanent core events, these Games will see karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding make their Olympic debuts, as well as the return of baseball and softball for the first time since 2008.[8]

Bidding process

The three candidate cities were Tokyo, Istanbul, and Madrid. The applicant cities of Baku and Doha were not promoted to candidate status. A bid from Rome was withdrawn.

Host city selection

The IOC voted to select the host city of the 2020 Summer Olympics on 7 September 2013, at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, using an exhaustive ballot system. None of the candidate cities won more than 50% of the votes in the first round; Madrid and Istanbul were tied for second place, so a runoff vote was held to determine which of the two cities would be eliminated. The final vote was a head-to-head contest between Tokyo and Istanbul. Tokyo was selected by 60 votes to 36, gaining at least the 49 votes required for a majority.

2020 Summer Olympics host city election[9]
City NOC name Round 1 Runoff Round 2
Tokyo  Japan 42 -- 60
Istanbul  Turkey 26 49 36
Madrid  Spain 26 45 --

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

In January 2020, concerns were raised about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on athletes and visitors to the Olympic Games.[10] Tokyo organizers insisted they were monitoring the spread of the disease to minimize its effects on preparations for the Olympics.[11] Unlike the case for Zika virus during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted directly between humans, posing tougher challenges for the organizers to counteract the infectious disease and host a safe and secure event.[10] Also unlike the case for H1N1 "swine flu" during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, COVID-19 has a higher fatality rate, and there was no effective vaccine prior to December 2020.[12] In a February 2020 interview with City A.M., Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey argued that London would be able to host the Olympic Games at the former 2012 Olympic venues should the Games need to be moved because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike criticized Bailey's comment as inappropriate.[14] In early 2021, officials in the U.S. state of Florida offered to host the delayed games in their state.[15]

Qualifying event cancellation and postponement

Concerns about the pandemic began to affect qualifying events in early 2020. Some that were due to take place in February were moved to alternative locations to address concerns about travelling to the affected areas, particularly China. For example, the women's basketball qualification was played in Belgrade, Serbia, instead of Foshan, China.[16] The boxing qualification tournament was originally planned to be held in Wuhan, China, the center of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 3 to 14 February, but instead took place in Amman, Jordan, at the beginning of March.[17] The third round of the women's football qualification tournament was also affected, as the group matches originally scheduled to be held in China were moved to Australia.[18] The European boxing qualification was held in London, United Kingdom, before it was suspended and is set to resume in June 2021 and has moved to Paris, France, affecting travel to the United Kingdom for its completion.[19][20] Remaining qualifying events that were due to take place in March to June 2020 began to be postponed until later in the year and middle of 2021 as part of a wider suspension of international sporting competitions in response to the pandemic. A multitude of Olympic sports were affected, including archery, baseball, cycling, handball, judo, rowing, sailing, volleyball, and water polo.

Effect on doping tests

Mandatory doping tests were being severely restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. European anti-doping organizations raised concerns that blood and urine tests could not be performed and that mobilizing the staff necessary to do so before the end of the pandemic would be a health risk. Despite the need for extensive testing to take place in advance of the Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stated that public health and safety was their topmost priority.[21] The Chinese anti-doping agency temporarily ceased testing on 3 February 2020, with a planned resumption of phased testing towards the end of the month,[22] and the anti-doping organizations in the United States, France, Great Britain, and Germany had reduced their testing activities by the end of March.[21]

Postponement to 2021

The Tokyo Organizing Committee (TOCOG) released a statement on 2 March 2020, confirming that preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics were "continuing as planned".[23] The following day, a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that the Games would proceed according to schedule.[24] On 18 March, the IOC repeated its opposition to a delay or cancellation.[25][26] On 23 March, both Canada and Australia indicated that they would withdraw from the Games if they were not postponed by a year.[27] On the same day, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe stated he would support a proposed postponement, citing that ensuring athlete safety was "paramount".[28] That same day, veteran IOC member and former vice president Dick Pound told USA Today that he expected the Games to be postponed.[29]

The IOC and TOCOG released a joint statement on 24 March 2020, announcing that the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics would be rescheduled to a date "beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021". They stated that the Games could "stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times", and that the Olympic flame could become "the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present".[30] Prime Minister Abe stated that IOC president Thomas Bach responded "with 100% agreement" to his proposal to delay the Games. For continuity and marketing purposes, it was agreed that the Games would still be branded as Tokyo 2020 despite the change in scheduling. Although several Olympics have been cancelled by world wars, including the 1940 Summer Olympics (which were originally awarded to Tokyo), this marks the first Olympics to be postponed to a later date instead of being cancelled altogether.[31][32][33]

On 30 March 2020, the IOC and TOCOG announced that they had reached an agreement on the new dates for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which would begin with the opening ceremony on 23 July 2021 and end with the closing ceremony on 8 August 2021.[3][34] The subsequent Winter Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to begin on 4 February 2022, less than six months later. Shortly before the postponement was confirmed, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers formed a task force named "Here We Go" with the remit to address any issues arising from postponing the Games, such as sponsorship and accommodation. The organizers confirmed that all athletes who had already qualified for Tokyo 2020 would keep their qualification slots.[35]

Health experts expressed concern in April 2020 that the Games might have to be cancelled if the pandemic should persist.[36] In an interview with Japanese sports daily Nikkan Sports, former Organizing Committee president and Japanese prime minister Yoshir? Mori asserted that the Games would be "scrapped" if they could not go ahead in 2021.[37] On 29 April, Prime Minister Abe stated that the Games "must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic".[38] Thomas Bach acknowledged in an interview with NBC Sports on 20 May 2020, that the job of reorganizing the Tokyo Games was "a mammoth task" and also admitted that the event would have to be cancelled altogether if it could not take place in the summer of 2021.[39] However, both Bach and Mori expressed optimism about the Games going ahead. Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra and World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom also remained optimistic about the event being able to take place in 2021.[40][41]

On 21 January 2021, multiple sources reported that the Japanese government had "privately concluded" that the Games would have to be cancelled.[42] The government dismissed the claims, stating that the reports were "categorically untrue".[43] The new Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga confirmed on 19 February that the G7--which also includes the UK prime minister Boris Johnson and new U.S. president Joe Biden--had given "unanimous" support for the postponed Games to go ahead as scheduled.[44] It was reported in April 2021, just three months before the start of the Games, that there was still the option to cancel the Tokyo Olympics with the country having vaccinated less than 1% of its population, with tens of thousands of volunteers expected to take part and athletes not being required to quarantine after arriving in Japan.[45][46] Prime Minister Suga dismissed these reports in a press conference with President Biden, who continues to support Suga's determination to hold the Games.[47]

On 18 May 2021 members of the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, "strongly" requested the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cancel the Olympics, citing that saying that hospitals were already full.[48]

Biosecurity protocols

In February 2021, the IOC began releasing "playbooks" containing details on planned COVID-19 biosecurity protocols for athletes, officials, the press, and other staff, including standard protocols such as practicing social distancing, hygiene, the wearing of face masks (outside of training and competition for athletes), and being restricted from visiting bars, restaurants, shops, and other tourist areas, or using public transport unless otherwise permitted. Participants will be asked to use Japan's COCOA Exposure Notification app and will be tested at least every four days. Athletes who test positive will be unable to compete and may be quarantined at a government facility (although leeway will be given in the event of false positives). Close contacts must also test negative in order to be cleared for competition. As the actions could spread infected droplets, athletes will be discouraged from "excessive" celebrations.[49][50] Likewise, as per existing guidance for spectator sports in Japan, spectators will also be asked to refrain from cheering or shouting.[4]

The IOC is recommending the vaccination of athletes if they are available, but vaccines will not be required, and the IOC is recommending against athletes "jumping the queue" in order to obtain priority over essential populations.[51] On 12 March 2021, Thomas Bach announced that in nations where they are approved for use, the Chinese Olympic Committee had offered to cover the costs of the Chinese CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines for athletes competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2022 Winter Olympics, and purchase two doses for their nation's general public for each vaccinated athlete.[52]

Costs and insurance

According to an estimate conducted by professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto of Kansai University and reported by the NHK, the cost of delaying the 2020 Olympics by one year will be 640.8 billion yen (US$5.8 billion), taking maintenance expenditures for the unused facilities into account.[53] A complete cancellation would cost Japan ¥4.52trillion (US$41.5billion), based on operating expenses and loss of tourism activity.[53]

The Tokyo Games are protected through the commercial insurance marketplace Lloyd's of London, by global reinsurers Munich Re and Swiss Re. The IOC takes out around $800 million of insurance for each Summer Olympics, with the total amount of loss insured for the 2020 Games likely to be more than $2 billion. The disruption caused by postponing the Games is covered by the insurance policy; those likely to make claims for their financial losses include local organizers, sponsors, hospitality firms, and travel providers. The total loss amount will not become clear until the Games have actually taken place.[54][55]

Development and preparation

National Stadium
Ariake Arena
Aquatics Centre
Yokohama Stadium - Baseball, softball

The Tokyo Organizing Committee was originally headed by former Japanese prime minister Yoshir? Mori,[56] but he resigned in February 2021 due to backlash from sexist comments about women in meetings.[57][58][59] Seiko Hashimoto was chosen to succeed him. Tamayo Marukawa, Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, is overseeing the preparations on behalf of the Japanese government.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has set aside a fund of JP¥400 billion (more than 3.67 billion USD) to cover the cost of hosting the Games. The Japanese government is considering easing airspace restrictions to allow an increased slot capacity at both Haneda and Narita airports. A new railway line is planned to link both airports through an expansion of Tokyo Station, cutting travel time from Tokyo Station to Haneda from 30 minutes to 18 minutes, and from Tokyo Station to Narita from 55 minutes to 36 minutes; funded primarily by private investors, the line would cost ¥400 billion. The East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is also planning a new route near Tamachi to Haneda Airport.[60]

There are plans to fund the accelerated completion of the Central Circular Route, Tokyo Gaikan Expressway, and Ken-? Expressway, and the refurbishment of other major expressways in the area.[61] The Yurikamome automated transit line is also to be extended from its existing terminal at Toyosu Station to a new terminal at Kachidoki Station, passing the site of the Olympic Village, although the line is not expected to have adequate capacity to serve major events in the Odaiba area on its own.[62]

In June 2020, TOC CEO Toshir? Mut? stated that the committee was exploring options for streamlining the Games to achieve cost savings.[63] On 25 September, the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee agreed to a suite of measures to simplify the Games' logistics, including a cut to non-athlete staff, use of online meetings, and streamlined transport, among others. The committee also outlined areas it would be exploring in order to maintain the health and safety of all participants.[64]

Venues and infrastructure

In February 2012, it was announced that Tokyo's National Stadium, the central venue for the 1964 Summer Olympics, would undergo a ¥100 billion renovation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics.[65] In November 2012, the Japan Sport Council announced it was taking bids for proposed stadium designs. Of the 46 finalists, Zaha Hadid Architects was awarded the project, which would replace the old stadium with a new 80,000-seat stadium. There was criticism of the Zaha Hadid design--which was compared to a bicycle helmet and regarded as clashing with the surrounding Meiji Shrine--and widespread disapproval of the costs, even with attempts to revise and "optimize" the design.[66]

In June 2015, the government announced it was planning to reduce the new stadium's permanent capacity to 65,000 in its athletics configuration (although with the option to add up to 15,000 temporary seats for football) as a further cost-saving measure.[67][68] The original plans to build a retractable roof were also scrapped.[69] As a result of public opposition to the increasing costs of the stadium, which reached ¥252 billion, the government ultimately chose to reject Zaha Hadid's design entirely and selected a new design by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Inspired by traditional temples and with a lower profile, Kuma's design has a budget of ¥149 billion. Changes in plans prevented the new stadium from being completed in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup as originally intended.[70]

In October 2018, the Board of Audit issued a report stating that the total cost of the venues could exceed US$25 billion.[71]

Of the 33 competition venues in Tokyo, 28 are within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the Olympic Village, with eleven new venues to be constructed.[72] On 16 October 2019, the IOC announced that there were plans to re-locate the marathon and racewalking events to Sapporo for heat concerns.[73] The plans were made official on 1 November 2019 after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike accepted the IOC's decision, despite her belief that the events should have remained in Tokyo.[74]

Heritage Zone

Six venues for eight sports are located within the central business area of Tokyo, northwest of the Olympic Village. Three of these venues were originally constructed for the 1964 Summer Olympics.[8]

Venue Events Capacity Status
Japan National Stadium* Opening and closing ceremonies 68,000 Completed[75]
Athletics (track and field)
Football (women's final)
Yoyogi National Gymnasium+ Handball 13,291 Existing
Ry?goku Kokugikan Boxing 11,098 Existing
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium+ Table tennis 10,000 Existing
Nippon Budokan+ Judo 14,471 Existing
Tokyo International Forum Weightlifting 5,012 Existing

*Built on the site of the old National Stadium (used for the 1964 Summer Olympics)
+Originally constructed for the 1964 Summer Olympics

Tokyo Bay Zone

There are 13 venues planned for 15 sports located in the vicinity of Tokyo Bay, southeast of the Olympic Village, predominantly on Ariake, Odaiba and the surrounding artificial islands.[8]

Venue Events Capacity Status
Kasai Rinkai Park Canoeing (slalom) 8,000 Ready, built for the games
Oi Hockey Stadium Field hockey 15,000 Ready, built for the games[76]
Tokyo Aquatics Centre Aquatics (swimming, diving, artistic swimming) 15,000 Completed[77]
Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center Water polo[78] 3,635 Existing
Yumenoshima Park Archery 7,000 Completed[79]
Ariake Arena Volleyball 12,000 Ready, built for the games
Ariake Urban Sports Park BMX racing, BMX freestyle 6,000 Under construction
Ariake Gymnastics Centre Gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic, trampoline) 10,000 Completed[80]
Ariake Coliseum Tennis 20,000 = 10,000 center court; 5,000 court 1; 3,000 court 2; 2,000 match courts (8x250) Existing, renovated
Odaiba Marine Park Triathlon 5,000 seated, unlimited standing room along route Existing with temporary stands
Aquatics (marathon swimming)
Shiokaze Park Beach volleyball 12,000 Temporary
Central Breakwater and Sea Forest Waterway Equestrian (eventing) 20,000 Existing with temporary infrastructure
Canoeing (sprint)
Aomi Urban Sports Park 3x3 basketball 5,000 Temporary
Sport climbing

Outlying venues

There are 16 venues for 16 sports situated farther than 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Olympic Village.

Venue Events Capacity Status
Camp Asaka Shooting 3,200 Existing, renovated
Musashino Forest Sports Plaza Modern pentathlon (fencing) 10,000 Ready, built for the games
Musashinonomori Park, Fuch?[82] Road cycling (start road races) Temporary
Tokyo Stadium Football (opening round matches) 49,970[83] Existing
Modern pentathlon (excluding fencing)
Rugby sevens
Saitama Super Arena Basketball 22,000[84] Existing
Enoshima Sailing 10,000[85] Existing with temporary stands
Makuhari Messe Fencing 6,000 Existing with temporary stands
Wrestling 8,000[86]
Baji Koen Equestrian Park, Setagaya Equestrian (dressage, jumping)[87] 9,300 Existing with temporary stands
Kasumigaseki Country Club Golf 30,000[88][89] Existing with temporary stands
Izu Velodrome, Shizuoka Track cycling 5,000[90] Existing, expanded
Izu Mountain Bike Course, Shizuoka Mountain biking[90] 11,500 Existing
Yokohama Stadium Baseball 30,000[91] Existing
Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium Baseball (opening match) 30,000 Existing, renovated
Softball (opening match)[92]
Fuji International Speedway Road cycling
(finish road races, time trial)
22,000 Existing
Odori Park Athletics (Marathon and Race walking) 17,300[93] Existing
Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, Chiba Surfing 6,000[94] Existing

Football venues

Venue Location Events Matches Capacity Status
International Stadium Yokohama[95] Yokohama Men's and Women's preliminaries and quarter-final, Women's semi-final, Men's final 10 70,000 Existing
Tokyo Stadium Tokyo Men's and Women's opening round 4 49,000 Existing
Saitama Stadium Saitama Men's and Women's preliminaries and quarter-final, Men's semi-final and 3rd place play-off 11 62,000 Existing
Miyagi Stadium Sendai Men's and Women's preliminaries and quarter-final 10 49,000 Existing
Kashima Soccer Stadium Kashima Men's and Women's preliminaries, quarter-final and semi-final, Women's 3rd place play-off 10 40,728 Existing
Sapporo Dome Sapporo Men's and Women's preliminaries 10 42,000 Existing
Japan National Stadium Tokyo Women's final 2 60,012 Completed

Non-competition venues

The Tokyo Big Sight Conference Tower will be used as the IBC/MPC complex.
Venue Events
Imperial Hotel, Tokyo IOC hotel
Harumi Futo Olympic Village
Tokyo Big Sight International Broadcast Center (IBC)
Media Press Center (MPC)


In December 2018, the Japanese government chose to ban drones from flying over venues being used for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. A ban was also imposed for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which Japan also hosted.[96]


Applications for volunteering at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were accepted beginning on 26 September 2018. By 18 January 2019, a total of 204,680 applications had been received by the Tokyo Organizing Committee.[97] Interviews to select the requisite number of volunteers began in February 2019, with training scheduled to take place in October 2019.[98] The volunteers at the venues are to be known as "Field Cast", and the volunteers in the city are to be known as "City Cast". These names were chosen from a shortlist of four from an original 150 pairs of names; the other three shortlisted names were "Shining Blue" and "Shining Blue Tokyo", "Games Anchor" and "City Anchor", and "Games Force" and "City Force". The names were chosen by the people who had applied to be volunteers at the Games.[99]


In February 2017, the Tokyo Organizing Committee announced an electronics recycling program in partnership with Japan Environmental Sanitation Center and NTT Docomo, soliciting donations of electronics such as mobile phones to be reclaimed as materials for the medals. Aiming to collect eight tonnes of metals to produce the medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, collection boxes were deployed at public locations and NTT Docomo retail shops in April 2017.[100][101] A design competition for the medals was launched in December of that year.[102]

In May 2018, the organizing committee reported that they had obtained half the required 2,700 kilograms of bronze but were struggling to obtain the required amount of silver; although bronze and silver medals purely utilize their respective materials, IOC requirements mandate that gold medals utilize silver as a base.[103] The collection of bronze was completed in November 2018, with the remainder estimated to have been completed by March 2019.[104]

On 24 July 2019, the designs of the medals were unveiled.[105][106] The medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games were designed by Junichi Kawanishi following a nationwide competition.[107] A new feature shared with the Paralympic medals is that the ribbons contain one, two, or three silicone convex lines to distinguish gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively.[106]

Torch relay

The slogan of the 2020 Summer Olympics torch relay is "Hope Lights Our Way".[108][109]

As determined by a 2009 IOC ruling that banned international torch relays for any future Olympic Games,[110] the 2020 Summer Olympics torch is scheduled to only visit the two countries of Greece and the host nation Japan. The first phase of the relay began on 12 March 2020, with the traditional flame lighting ceremony at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. The torch then travelled to Athens, where the Greek leg of the relay culminated in a handover ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium on 19 March, during which the torch was transferred to the Japanese contingent.[108] The flame was placed inside a special lantern and transported from Athens International Airport on a chartered flight to Higashimatsushima in Japan. The torch was then expected to begin the second phase of its journey on 20 March, as it traveled for one week around the three most affected areas of the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami--Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima--where it would go on display under the heading "Flame of Recovery". After leaving Naraha on 26 March, the torch would commence its main relay around Japan, incorporating all 47 prefectural capitals.[109] The relay is scheduled to end at Tokyo's new National Stadium, where the torch is to be used to light the Olympic cauldron at the finale of the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.[111]

After the decision to postpone the Games was made, the torch was placed again in a special lantern on display in the city of Fukushima for a month. After that, the lantern was transferred to the Tokyo prefecture, where it was kept safe until the restart of the relay in 2021.[112] On 23 July 2020 (one year ahead of the rescheduled opening ceremony), a promotional video was released featuring Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee carrying the lantern inside Japan National Stadium, drawing comparisons between emergence from the pandemic and her own return to sport after being diagnosed with leukemia.[113]

On 20 August 2020, it was announced that the torch relay would begin again in Naraha, Fukushima on 25 March 2021, nearly a year later than originally planned.[112][114]


The opening ceremony tickets are expected to range from ¥12,000 to ¥300,000, with a maximum price of ¥130,000 for the finals of the athletics track and field events.[115] The average ticket price is ¥7,700, with half the tickets being sold for up to ¥8,000. A symbolic ticket price of ¥2,020 is expected for families, groups resident in Japan, and in conjunction with a school program.[115] Tickets will be sold through 40,000 shops in Japan and by mail order to Japanese addresses through the Internet.[116] International guests, had they been allowed, would have needed to visit Japan during the sales period, or arrange to buy tickets through a third party such as a travel agent.[117]

Tickets went on general sale in Japan in the autumn of 2019 and were expected to be sold globally from June 2020; however, this plan was suspended when the Games were postponed on 24 March 2020. The Tokyo Organizing Committee confirmed that tickets already purchased would remain valid for the same sessions according to the new schedule and that refunds were also being offered.[118]

On 20 March 2021, it was announced that due to COVID-19-related concerns, no international guests would be allowed to attend the 2020 Olympics or Paralympics. This includes both spectators, as well as the friends and family of athletes. All overseas ticketholders will be refunded.[4] Hashimoto cited uncertainties surrounding international travel restrictions, and goals to preserve the safety of all participants and spectators, and not place a burden on the health care system.[4]

The Games


The official program for the 2020 Summer Olympics was approved by the IOC executive board on 9 June 2017. IOC president Thomas Bach stated that the goal for the Tokyo Summer Olympics was to give them a more "youthful" and "urban" appeal, and to increase the number of female participants.[119][120]

The Games will feature 339 events in 33 different sports, encompassing a total of 50 disciplines. Alongside the five new sports that are expected to be introduced in Tokyo, fifteen new events within existing sports are also planned, including 3x3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and the return of madison cycling, as well as new mixed events in several sports.

In the list below, the number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses.

2020 Summer Olympic Sports Programme

New sports

As part of a goal to control costs and ensure that the Olympics remain "relevant to sports fans of all generations", the IOC assessed the 26 sports contested at the 2012 Olympics,[121] with the remit of dropping one sport and retaining 25 "core" sports to join new entrants golf and rugby sevens at the 2020 Games. This move would bring the total number of sports to 27, one less than the requirement of 28 for the 2020 Olympics program, thus leaving a single vacancy that the IOC would seek to fill from a shortlist containing seven unrepresented sports, as well as the sport that had been dropped from the 2012 program.[]

On 12 February 2013, IOC leaders voted to drop wrestling from the "core" program for the 2020 Games; this decision surprised many news outlets, given that the sport's role in the Olympics dates back to the ancient Olympic Games, and was included in the original program for the modern Games. The New York Times felt that the decision was based on the shortage of well-known talent and the absence of women's events in the sport.[122][123][124] Wrestling was duly added to the shortlist of applicants for inclusion in the 2020 Games, alongside the seven new sports that were put forward for consideration.[122]

On 29 May 2013, it was announced that three of the eight sports under consideration had made the final shortlist: baseball/softball, squash and wrestling.[125] The other five sports were rejected at this point: karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and wushu.[126] At the 125th IOC Session on 8 September 2013, wrestling was chosen to be included in the Olympic program for 2020 and 2024. Wrestling secured 49 votes, while baseball/softball and squash received 24 votes and 22 votes respectively.[127]

Under new IOC policies that shift the Games to use an "event-based" program rather than a "sport-based" program, the host organizing committee can now also propose the addition of sports to the program. This rule is designed to allow sports that are popular in the host country to be added to the program in order to improve local interest.[128] As a result of these changes, a list of eight sports was unveiled on 22 June 2015, consisting of baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing, and wushu.[129] On 28 September 2015, the organizers submitted their shortlist of five proposed sports to the IOC: baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding.[130] These five new sports were approved on 3 August 2016 by the IOC during the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and are to be included in the sports program for 2020 only, bringing the total number of sports at the 2020 Olympics to 33.[131][132]

Test events

A total of 56 test events are scheduled to take place in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Two of the events were held in late 2018, but the main test event schedule commenced in June 2019 and was originally due to be completed in May 2020 prior to the start of the Olympics. Several of the events were incorporated into pre-existing championships, but some have been newly created specifically to serve as Olympic test events for the 2020 Summer Games.[133][134]

In February 2019, it was announced that the test events would be branded under the banner "Ready, Steady, Tokyo". The Tokyo Organizing Committee is responsible for 22 of the test events, with the remaining events being arranged by national and international sports federations. The first test event was World Sailing's World Cup Series, held at Enoshima in September 2018. The last scheduled event is the Tokyo Challenge Track Meet, which was originally due to take place at the Olympic Stadium on 6 May 2020.[135]

All test events originally scheduled to take place from 12 March 2020 onwards were postponed due to COVID-19, with the test event calendar to be reviewed during the preparations for the rescheduled Games.[b][136]

Cultural festival and exhibition sumo tournament

The Nippon Festival was initially announced in late 2019, and is expected to feature art and performances that are modern while being tied to Japanese culture, including a hybrid kabuki-opera production.[137] On 5 February 2020, the Japan Sumo Association confirmed that it would participate in the Nippon Festival, with plans to host a special two-day exhibition sumo tournament at the Ry?goku Kokugikan shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games but before the start of the Paralympic Games.[c][138] The length and format of the exhibition sumo tournament is expected to differ significantly from sumo's traditional 15-day tournaments, which are held six times a year. There are plans to provide simultaneous commentary in English and Japanese to help explain to visitors the customs and traditions of professional sumo, which are deeply rooted in the Shinto religion.[139][140]

Participating National Olympic Committees

Macedonia has competed under the provisional name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" in every Summer and Winter Games since its debut in 1996 because of the disputed status of its official name. The naming disputes with Greece ended in 2018 with the signing of the Prespa agreement, and the country was officially renamed North Macedonia in February 2019. The new name was immediately recognized by the IOC, although the Olympic Committee of North Macedonia (NMOC) was not officially adopted until February 2020. The NMOC sent a delegation to the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in January 2020, but the Tokyo Games will be North Macedonia's first appearance at the Summer Olympics under its new name.[141]

On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned Russia from all international sport for a period of four years, after the Russian government was found to have tampered with lab data that it provided to WADA in January 2019 as a condition of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency being reinstated. As a result of the ban, WADA plans to allow individually cleared Russian athletes to take part in the 2020 Summer Olympics under a neutral banner, as instigated at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but they will not be permitted to compete in team sports. The title of the neutral banner has yet to be determined; WADA Compliance Review Committee head Jonathan Taylor stated that the IOC would not be able to use "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR) as it did in 2018, emphasizing that neutral athletes cannot be portrayed as representing a specific country.[142][143][144] Russia later filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the WADA decision.[145]

After reviewing the case on appeal, CAS ruled on 17 December 2020 to reduce the penalty that WADA had placed on Russia. Instead of banning Russia from sporting events, the ruling allowed Russia to participate at the Olympics and other international events, but for a period of two years, the team cannot use the Russian name, flag, or anthem and must present themselves as "Neutral Athlete" or "Neutral Team". The ruling does allow for team uniforms to display "Russia" on the uniform as well as the use of the Russian flag colors within the uniform's design, although the name should be up to equal predominance as the "Neutral Athlete/Team" designation.[146]

On 19 February 2021, it was announced that Russia would compete under the acronym "ROC" after the name of the Russian Olympic Committee although the name of the committee itself in full could not be used to refer to the delegation. Russia would be represented by the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee.[147]

On 6 April 2021, North Korea announced it would not participate in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns.[148] This will mark North Korea's first absence in the Summer Olympics since 1988.

As of 13 May 2021, the following 166 National Olympic Committees have qualified (other than through universality places in athletics, under which all 206 NOCs may send competitors regardless of qualification).

Participating National Olympic Committees


The 2020 schedule by session was approved by the IOC Executive Board on 18 July 2018, with the exception of swimming, diving, and artistic swimming. A more detailed schedule by event was released on 16 April 2019, still omitting a detailed schedule for the boxing events.[149][150] A detailed boxing schedule was released in late 2019.[151]

The original schedule was from 22 July to 9 August 2020. To postpone the Olympics until 2021, all events were delayed by 364 days (one day less than a full year to preserve the same days of the week), giving a new schedule of 21 July to 8 August 2021.[152]

All times and dates use Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
OC Opening ceremony ? Event competitions 1 Gold medal events EG Exhibition gala CC Closing ceremony
July/August 2021 21
Olympic Rings Icon.svg Ceremonies OC CC N/A
Archery pictogram.svg Archery ? 1 1 1 ? ? ? 1 1 5
Synchronized swimming pictogram.svg Artistic swimming ? ? 1 ? 1 2
Athletics pictogram.svg Athletics 1 3 4 5 6 5 8 8 7 1 48
Badminton pictogram.svg Badminton ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 1 2 5
Baseball pictogram.svg Baseball ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1
Basketball Basketball pictogram.svg Basketball ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 4
3-on-3 basketball pictogram.svg 3×3 Basketball ? ? ? ? 2
Boxing pictogram.svg Boxing ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 1 1 1 4 4 13
Canoeing Canoeing (slalom) pictogram.svg Slalom ? 1 1 ? 1 1 16
Canoeing (flatwater) pictogram.svg Sprint ? 4 ? 4 ? 4
Cycling Cycling (road) pictogram.svg Road cycling 1 1 2 22
Cycling (track) pictogram.svg Track cycling 1 2 1 2 2 1 3
Cycling (BMX) pictogram.svg BMX ? 2 ? 2
Cycling (mountain biking) pictogram.svg Mountain biking 1 1
Diving pictogram.svg Diving 1 1 1 1 ? ? 1 ? 1 ? 1 ? 1 8
Equestrian pictogram.svg Equestrian ? ? 1 1 ? ? ? 2 ? 1 ? 1 6
Fencing pictogram.svg Fencing 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Field hockey pictogram.svg Field hockey ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 2
Football pictogram.svg Football ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 2
Golf pictogram.svg Golf ? ? ? 1 ? ? ? 1 2
Gymnastics Gymnastics (artistic) pictogram.svg Artistic ? ? 1 1 1 1 4 3 3 EG 18
Gymnastics (rhythmic) pictogram.svg Rhythmic ? 1 1
Gymnastics (trampoline) pictogram.svg Trampolining 1 1
Handball pictogram.svg Handball ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 2
Judo pictogram.svg Judo 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 15
Karate pictogram.svg Karate 3 3 2 8
Modern pentathlon pictogram.svg Modern pentathlon ? 1 1 2
Rowing pictogram.svg Rowing ? ? ? ? 2 4 4 4 14
Rugby Sevens pictogram.svg Rugby sevens ? ? 1 ? ? 1 2
Sailing pictogram.svg Sailing ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 2 2 2 2 10
Shooting pictogram.svg Shooting 2 2 2 2 ? 2 1 2 ? 2 15
Skateboarding pictogram.svg Skateboarding 1 1 1 1 4
Softball pictogram.svg Softball ? ? ? ? ? 1 1
Sport climbing pictogram.svg Sport climbing ? ? 1 1 2
Surfing pictogram.svg Surfing ? ? ? 2 2
Swimming pictogram.svg Swimming ? 4 4 4 5 5 4 4 5 1 1 37
Table tennis pictogram.svg Table tennis ? ? 1 ? ? 1 1 ? ? ? ? 1 1 5
Taekwondo pictogram.svg Taekwondo 2 2 2 2 8
Tennis pictogram.svg Tennis ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 3 5
Triathlon pictogram.svg Triathlon 1 1 1 3
Volleyball Volleyball (beach) pictogram.svg Beach volleyball ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 4
Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg Volleyball ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1
Water polo pictogram.svg Water polo ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1 1 2
Weightlifting pictogram.svg Weightlifting 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 14
Wrestling pictogram.svg Wrestling ? 3 3 3 3 3 3 18
Daily medal events 11 18 21 22 23 17 21 21 25 22 24 17 27 23 34 13 339
Cumulative total 11 29 50 72 95 112 133 154 179 201 225 242 269 292 326 339
July/August 2021 21
Total events

Event scheduling

Per the historical precedent of swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and figure skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, swimming finals are scheduled to be held in the morning to allow live primetime broadcasts in the Americas. NBC paid substantial fees for rights to the Olympics, so the IOC has allowed NBC to influence event scheduling to maximize U.S. television ratings when possible. On 7 May 2014, NBC agreed to a US$7.75 billion contract extension to air the Olympics through the 2032 games,[153] which is one of the IOC's major sources of revenue.[154] Japanese broadcasters were said to have criticized the decision, as swimming is one of the most popular Olympic events in the country.[155][156]


Miraitowa (left), the official mascot of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Someity (right), the official mascot of the 2020 Summer Paralympics

The official emblems for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled on 25 April 2016; designed by Asao Tokolo, who won a nationwide design contest, it takes the form of a ring in an indigo-colored checkerboard pattern. The design is meant to "express a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan".[157] The designs replaced a previous emblem which had been scrapped after allegations that it plagiarized the logo of the Théâtre de Liège in Belgium. The Games' bid slogan is Discover Tomorrow (Japanese: (), romanizedAshita o tsukam?). While ashita literally means 'tomorrow', it is intentionally spelled as mirai 'future'.[158] The official slogan United by Emotion was unveiled on 17 February 2020. The slogan will be used solely in English.[159]

The official mascot of the 2020 Summer Olympics is Miraitowa, a figure with blue-checkered patterns inspired by the Games' official emblem. Its fictional characteristics include the ability to teleport.[160] Created by Japanese artist Ryo Taniguchi, the mascots were selected from a competition process which took place in late 2017 and early 2018. A total of 2,042 candidate designs were submitted to the Tokyo Organizing Committee, which selected three pairs of unnamed mascot designs to present to Japanese elementary school students for the final decision.[161][162] The results of the selection were announced on 28 February 2018, and the mascots were named on 22 July 2018. Miraitowa is named after the Japanese words for "future" and "eternity",[160] and Someity is named after someiyoshino, a type of cherry blossom.[163] Someity's name also refers to the English phrase "so mighty".[164] The mascots are expected to help finance the Tokyo Games through merchandizing and licensing deals.[165]


Alongside the main Emblem blue, the five other colors used in the branding of the 2020 Games are , , , , and . These five traditional colors of Japan are used as sub-colors to create points of difference in the color variations.[166]

Concerns and controversies

On 10 December 2018, the French financial crimes office began an investigation of Tsunekazu Takeda, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, concerning a 2013 scheme to obtain votes from African IOC members in support of Tokyo as host for the 2020 Olympics instead of Istanbul or Madrid.[167][168] In March 2020, a Japanese businessman admitted to giving gifts, including cameras and watches, to IOC officials in order to lobby for their support of Tokyo's bid to host the Olympic Games.[169]

South Korea asked the International Olympic Committee to ban the Japanese Rising Sun Flag from the 2020 Summer Olympics,[170] because South Korea's ministry of culture, sports and tourism claims the flag is a symbol of Japan's imperialist past and recalls "historic scars and pain" for people of Korea just as the swastika "reminds Europeans of the nightmare of World War II".[171][172] Use of the flag in international sporting events such as the Olympic Games is quite controversial, as it was used for waging aggressive war against many countries in Pacific regions including the Attack on Pearl Harbor.[173] However, the flag has been utilized since before World War II and it is still used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and a variant by the Japan Self-Defense Forces. South Korea did not formally raise objections against the flag until 2011.[174]

Russian and South Korean officials took issue with a map of the torch relay on the Games' official website, which depicted the disputed Liancourt Rocks (governed by South Korea) and Kuril Islands (governed by Russia since 1945) as part of Japan.[175]

Portions of the Games are scheduled for locations that were impacted by the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The Olympics torch relay was planned to begin in Fukushima,[176] while Olympic baseball and softball matches are scheduled to be played at Fukushima Stadium, and some football matches are expected to be played in Rifu--an outskirt of Sendai, an area impacted by the earthquake and tsunami. The hosting of events in these locations has been promoted as a means of furthering recovery in the regions (the rescheduled Games will mark the events' 10th anniversary), with the Games as a whole sometimes being promoted as the "Recovery Olympics" (Fukk? Gorin (?)).[177] However, the organization of events in these regions has faced criticism; Fukushima is considered safe by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, although scientific studies on the safety of the area are currently disputed.[178] Some T?hoku residents have questioned the decision to use the region as a host site, arguing that preparations for the Games have slowed recovery efforts, and that the region has lost workers to projects associated with the Games.[179]

Illegal and forced loggings of domestic forests and rainforests among Malaysia and Indonesia have become additional issues, triggering concerns and protests from residents and environmental organizations.[180][181][182][183][184][185]

After consulting the organisation's Athletes' Commission on guidelines prohibiting protests at the Olympics, such as protesting against human rights abuses or taking a knee on the podium, the IOC decided to uphold the ban.[186][187]

In February 2021, the president of the Tokyo Olympics Committee Yoshiro Mori resigned, facing both domestic and international criticisms over his sexist remarks.[188][189] The following president Seiko Hashimoto's previous conducts have also drawn criticisms,[190] leading her to comment "I regret it and think I should be careful" on one of the accusations.[191]

The head creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies Hiroshi Sasaki resigned in March, after making demeaning comments about a woman celebrity.[192][193]

The logo of the Tokyo Olympics was withdrawn and replaced, following plagiarism accusations.[194][195] The lawsuit by Olivier Debie, who claimed that his design was plagiarised, was later dropped, with the designer citing escalating legal costs.[196]

Decisions by the organisers to ask medical professionals to volunteer for the Games have raised concerns about the pandemic in Japan, which is facing a fourth wave of infections and shortage of medical professionals and supplies.[197] Multiple medical professional organisations have voiced their oppositions.[198][199][200]

Opinion polls in April shows about 40% want the Olympics cancelled and another 33% favors the games to be rescheduled again.[201] At least nine out of 47 elected governors supported the cancellation of the games.[202] Majority of businesses oppose the Games,[203] and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said that it would be a "suicide mission" for the country to host the Olympic Games in 2021.[204]

The IOC president Thomas Bach's planned visit to Japan in mid-May 2021 was postponed after the Japanese government extended a coronavirus state of emergency covering Tokyo and multiple prefectures.[205]


Sony and Panasonic are partnering with NHK to develop broadcasting standards for 8K resolution television, with a goal to release 8K television sets in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.[206][207] In early 2019, Italian broadcaster RAI announced its intention to deploy 8K broadcasting for the Games.[208] Telecom company NTT Docomo signed a deal with Finland's Nokia to provide 5G-ready baseband networks in Japan in time for the Games.[209][210]

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to be broadcast in the United States by NBCUniversal networks, as part of a US$4.38 billion agreement that began at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[211] The USOPC asserts that a "right of abatement" clause in the contract was triggered by the delay of the Games to 2021, requiring the IOC to "negotiate in good faith an equitable reduction in the applicable broadcast rights payments" by NBC, which remains one of IOC's biggest revenue streams.[154][212]

In Europe, this will be the first Summer Olympics under the IOC's exclusive pan-European rights deal with Eurosport, which began at the 2018 Winter Olympics and is contracted to run through 2024. The rights for the 2020 Summer Olympics cover almost all of Europe; a pre-existing deal with a marketer excludes Russia.[213] Eurosport plans to sub-license coverage to free-to-air networks in each territory, and other channels owned by Discovery, Inc. subsidiaries. In the United Kingdom, these are set to be the last Games with rights owned primarily by the BBC, although as a condition of a sub-licensing agreement due to carry into the 2022 and 2024 Games, Eurosport holds exclusive pay television rights.[214][215][216] In France, these will be the last Games whose rights are primarily owned by France Télévisions. Eurosport is scheduled to debut as pay television rightsholder, after Canal+ elected to sell its pay television rights as a cost-saving measure.[217]

In Canada, the 2020 Games are scheduled to be shown on CBC/Radio-Canada, Sportsnet, TSN and TLN.[218][219][220] In Australia, they will be aired by the Seven Network.[221] In the Indian subcontinent, they will be aired by Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN).[222]

See also


  1. ^ Only an English motto will be used during the Games. There is no Japanese equivalent of the motto adopted.[1]
  2. ^ The remainder of the Olympic test events will resume on 11 March 2021 and the last event will take place on 5 May 2021.
  3. ^ The exhibition sumo tournament was scheduled to take place on 12 and 13 August 2020, but it was eventually cancelled.[138]
  4. ^ Russian Neutral Athletes


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Rio de Janeiro
XXXII Olympiad

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