After a year of delays due to the coronavirus, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are officially here. With an opening ceremony set for July 23, events will take place over the next two weeks with closing ceremonies on August 8.
Modern-day Olympics premiered in Athens in 1896, but it’s safe to say these Olympic Games will be unlike any we’ve seen before.1 Here are a few ways in which this year’s games are looking a little different amidst the pandemic.
While the whole world was grappling with the onset of COVID-19, Tokyo and the country of Japan had an extra hardship on their hands - postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics. It's no easy feat changing a 3,000-year-old tradition - and it cost quite a bit to do so. Back in December 2020, the estimated cost of delaying the games was $2.8 billion. By June 2021, the actual number had already surpassed $3 billion.2 Part of this discrepancy is likely due to the $800 million in ticket sales the organizers were originally counting on.
While international visitors were banned, Japan was, up until recently, going to allow 10,000 locals to attend the games as spectators.3 But with the Delta variant remaining a concern and a new State of Emergency placed over Tokyo, no fans will be in attendance. This year’s athletes will compete to empty stands - a stark contrast to the 2016 Olympics’ 6.2 million attendees.4 Don't worry, audiences around the world will still be able to watch the games from the comfort of their own homes on major television networks and streaming services.
Vaccines & Testing
With 11,000 athletes set to compete at the games, rigorous safety measures are being implemented. Vaccines are not required, but athletes entering the country must provide a negative COVID-19 test and may be asked to quarantine for three days upon their arrival. Once in Tokyo, athletes are being tested daily.
The 2020 Olympic games may provide an ideal metaphor for what we’ve all experienced—resilience, hope, and determination amidst adversity. We hope you and your family take some time over the coming days to cheer on Team USA!
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