July 12, 2018
The power of sport to unite was on display during the visit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)s Coordination Commission to Tokyo. Organisers announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will begin in Fukushima, before travelling across the country. Fukushima was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and Games organisers have worked to make sure the local population can benefit directly from the Games, with the Torch Relay and some sports events taking place in the region. The IOC was also impressed by the significant advances that the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has made towards hosting the Olympic Games in 2020.
Tokyo 2020 comes a significant step closer to delivering Olympic Games that will bring Japan and the world together. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has presented considerable progress since our previous Coordination Commission visit last year, especially as it relates to venue and operational readiness, said IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates. As we near the two-years-to-go mark, the Games are really coming to life, with the Olympic Torch Relay showing the power of sport, as it will begin in Fukushima, which was affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo 2020 will also welcome media and National Olympic Committees later this year and host its first Test Event in September, while fans can also expect announcements around mascots, tickets, the session schedule and volunteering all in the next few months.
"Following on from the last IOC Coordination Commission meeting, we were able to share details with the IOC about how hard the local governments are working on their preparations for the Games, said Tokyo 2020 President Mori. It is very meaningful that the Olympic Torch Relay will traverse the whole country, given our hope that the Olympic Games will leave their mark on future generations and provide legacies for the children of Japan. I believe these Olympic Games will help lift the spirits of all of the people in Japan, and provide a particular boost to the feelings of people in the affected areas."
Venue preparation was a core topic throughout the three-day visit, with the Coordination Commission kicking off the first day with a tour of Tokyo Stadium, Musashino Forest Sport Plaza and Equestrian Park.
Tokyo Stadium, which will host football, rugby and modern pentathlon, is one of the 22 existing venues that will be used for the Olympic Games. Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, the first new permanent venue to be completed, has already begun hosting multipurpose events, representing the first tangible venue legacy of the Olympic Games 2020.
The multisport venue will host badminton, wheelchair basketball and parts of the modern pentathlon competition, and includes a swimming pool, a gym, a multi-use sports arena and two fitness studios, all of which will also be available for use by the general public before and after the Games.
The Coordination Commission capped off the venue tour with a stop at the Equestrian Park, also known as Baji Koen. A legacy of the Olympic Games 1964, the Equestrian Park, which is being revitalised with the assistance of the Japan Racing Association (JRA), will continue to benefit Tokyo citizens for decades to come, as it is will be reopened to the public following the 2020 Games. Just as the Tokyo 1964 Games served as a catalyst to transform Japan, so, too, does Tokyo 2020 aim to harness the power of sport to pass on a legacy for the future.
This combination of new, renovated and existing venues demonstrates how Tokyo 2020 has embraced Olympic Agenda 2020 to create a sustainable legacy for the city of Tokyo and Japan, while optimising construction costs.
On the final day of the Coordination Commission visit, Tokyo 2020 announced the order of prefectures for the Olympic Torch Relay, which reinforced the Organising Committees commitment to ensure that these Games are for all of Japan, with the Relay travelling to 47 Japanese prefectures.
Just as the Olympic Torch Relay will travel across Japan, the design of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots was also a national affair, with school children from 80% of all Japanese schools having voted on their favourite design. Those mascots will be named during Tokyos two-years-to-go countdown celebrations later this month.
Tokyo 2020 will also welcome broadcasters from around the world to the World Broadcaster Meeting in two weeks time, which is an essential event in the preparation for the Olympic Games, as provides details on the services and operations available to broadcasters as they transmit the Games around the world. This will be followed by the World Press Briefing in September.
Several members of the Olympic Movement joined the Coordination Commission for this visit, including several National Olympic Committees Brazil, France, Qatar, Sweden and USA and TOP partner representatives Intel, Panasonic and Toyota. This participation originates in the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020s the New Norm and reinforces the IOCs and organisers commitment to enhancing the experience of athletes, stakeholders and fans.
The Paris 2024 Organising Committee was on-site to observe the meeting and learn from Tokyo 2020. The two Organising Committees further cemented their commitment to working together by signing an MOU underlining their cooperation with the aim of ensuring the successful delivery of their respective Games.
The Coordination Commission also analysed important operational elements during its visit such as the competition schedule and ticket prices, which will be discussed next week at the IOCs Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.