In the wake of Rio’s “Marvellous Games”, Tokyo makes strong strides towards 2020
The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 today completed its third official visit to the Japanese capital (1-2 December). The Commission acknowledged the organisers’ significant progress in Games preparations, as well as their commitment to quickly finalise the venue master plan and integrate the five new sports approved during the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro into their plans.
Building on the success of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and an internationally acclaimed handover ceremony, Tokyo 2020 showcased over the last two days how its state of the art facilities will offer a unique Olympic and Paralympic experience to the world’s best athletes in 2020. The Coordination Commission also heard about the proposed venues for the sports of baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing, which were included on the Tokyo 2020 programme following a proposal by the Tokyo organisers in response to the new opportunity provided by Olympic Agenda 2020.
“We are very pleased with the significant progress that has been achieved since the last visit of the Coordination Commission to Tokyo,” said the Chair of the Coordination Commission, John Coates. “We have seen that President Mori, Governor Koike, Minister Marukawa and Minister Matsuno all share a common desire to deliver outstanding Olympic Games in 2020 for the athletes and for the people of Tokyo and Japan. The IOC and all of the Japanese partners are rowing in the same direction. Our continued close collaboration will ensure that the venue masterplan is finalised quickly; that the significant savings in the Games budget are delivered; and that the local population is left with an important positive legacy from these Games.”
He continued, “It is particularly pleasing that the revenues of Tokyo 2020 have increased significantly, which will support the achievement of a balanced Organising Committee budget. For the other components relative to the overall budget, we are convinced that significant savings will be made.”
The Coordination Commission welcomed the outcome of the discussions of the Four-Party Working Group, including confirmation of the Sea Forest and Aquatics venues, while the volleyball venue is expected to be finalised soon. It also noted the progress that has been made over the last month towards achieving further cost savings for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with an additional amount of over USD 400 million having been saved on venue construction, which comes on top of the approximately USD 1.8 billion savings made on the revised construction budget last year.
The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori, said, “During the IOC Coordination Commission meetings over the past two days, we were able to hold productive discussions on various aspects of preparations for the Games with the members of the Commission, led by Chairman John Coates. The Commission gave a very positive evaluation of our overall progress in each area of the Games.
“The word ‘integration’ was emphasised. With the growing number of Tokyo 2020 staff members, it is indeed the key element of our organisation – how to operate as ‘one team’. The Commission provided us with some valuable ideas about how to make the best use of the remaining three years and eight months until the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“We firmly believe that sport has the power to change the world and the future. With this as Tokyo 2020’s vision, we will continue making best efforts to prepare for and deliver successful Games.”
The finalisation of the venues and the optimisation of their design mark another important step towards the shaping of a strong legacy, not only in Tokyo but in Japan as a whole. The engagement of the Japanese population towards the Games is mounting, as was demonstrated by the over 800,000 people who gathered in the streets of Tokyo to give the 87 Japanese medallists and their teammates from the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games an ecstatic homecoming a few months ago. This event undoubtedly provided a taste of the kind of scenes the athletes can expect when the capital hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in four years’ time. The same enthusiasm is accompanying the Olympic flag tour that is currently travelling around the country.
Strong engagement and high interest in the Games are also being displayed by the Japanese business community, with Tokyo 2020’s success in signing 42 domestic partners (15 Tier 1 and 27 Tier 2) so far underlining the Japanese economy’s strong support for the 2020 Games.
The coming year will be another important sporting one for Tokyo 2020. The Tokyo organisers will be in Lausanne next week to present for IOC approval the venues of the five new sports that were presented to the Coordination Commission this week. These new venues, which are a mix of temporary and existing venues, have been selected with a view to the experience of the athletes; efficiency of planning and delivery; and their legacy. The final list of events on the Olympic sports programme of the 2020 Games is then due to be agreed upon by the IOC in summer 2017.
The two-day visit by the Commission covered a number of topics, including Tokyo 2020’s experience and observation of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, sport, NOC Services, Olympic Village, people management, engagement, sustainability, spectator experience, venues and the Paralympics. The Commission’s fourth visit to Tokyo is scheduled for June 2017.