On the road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: A Look into Olympic History

  • The anticipation of the 2020 Olympic games has already begun and Japan is at the centre of it all. They won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic and paralympic games back in 2013 and the excitement in Japan was palpable. I was lucky enough to be in Japan when they won and many people were celebrating and posters were everywhere.


    Since Japan won the bid, two years have passed, it is now only 5 years until the games are held! Tokyo and all of Japan are gearing up to host the games, although it has not been smooth sailing so far. Actually, the history of the Olympic games in Japan goes back many years.



    Japan joined the Olympic games in 1912. Since then Japan has only not competed twice, once in 1948 following the end of World War II and the other in 1980 when the games were boycotted when held in Moscow. So far Japan has held three different Olympic games. They held the summer games in 1964, the winter games in 1972 and the winter games again in 1998. Japan were actually scheduled to hold the summer Olympics in 1940. Japan would have been the first non-Western city to ever hold the Olympic games. Construction started, dates were booked and transport was all organised for the 1940 games. However in 1937 the Second Sino-Japanese war began. Due to this war internationally the idea started to boycott the games if they were to proceed. Due to construction needs in the war there were many disagreements between the Olympic council and the wartime cabinet. In July 1938 the decision was made to cancel the Olympic games in Tokyo. The games were moved to Helsinki however when World War II began the games were postponed indefinitely. The Olympics were not held again until 1948. Japan finally held the Olympics in 1964, making it the first Asian nation to hold the games. Another record breaker was the fact that these games were the first to be televised using geostationary satellite technology.


    All in all Japan has won 398 medals at the summer Olympics so far. The event in which Japan excels at is Judo, where they have won the most medals compared to other events, with 72 medals! This means that Japan in the number one country in the world for Judo. Japan has also claimed 37 medals at the Winter Olympics! When Japan hosted the 1964 summer games they ranked third out of all participating countries; well done Japan!

    The 2020 games


    Japan won the games on the 7th of September 2013. ¥400 billion Japanese yen has been set aside to cover the costs of hosting Tokyo 2020. Even though the games have previously been hosted in 1964, much development of the surrounding area is currently being planned. To enable tourists and athletes to have easy access to the stadiums, a new railway line is planned between Tokyo Station and Haneda airport. Another line will also be built between Tokyo Station and Narita airport. These new lines will cut travel time down to 18 minutes and 36 minutes respectively. Also new for the Tokyo 2020 games is the inclusion of new sports.


    A host country is now allowed to add a sport that is popular in their country. Japan will choose from baseball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing and wushu. The decision will be made in September 2015, so keep a look out for the new announcement. There has been a lot of controversies so far in the Tokyo 2020 games.


    The biggest of these is the scrapping of the Olympic stadium design and the scrapping of the 2020 logo. The artist who designed the logo recently said he plagarised, so a new logo needs to be designed. The original stadium design chosen turned out to be too expensive, so again a new design needs to be chosen. Hopefully soon new updates will be bought out so we can see how the 2020 games are taking shape.

    Olympics Official Website

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