Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Update Summer 2016

 In Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Rio Games closing shot as Japan prepares for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Thinking ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has me thinking back to the Rio Olympics. I was mesmerized by the incredible spectacle at the Rio Olympics – from
 running to swimming to gymnastics to basketball.  It took a lot of time 
to watch, too!  Competitions were running on three channels here in the
 U.S., and with a lot of fast-forwarding, I tried to catch as many
 competitions as possible. 

But nothing compares to being there in person.

One of the great stories 
in my family is the adventure that my grandmother and her sister (at the 
time, two single women) took in traveling in 1936 to Berlin to cheer on 
Jesse Owens and the U.S. Olympic team.  They also took a side trip to Morocco with 
many twists and turns.  Two smart, tough, adventurous women, with stories to share for the rest of their lives.

Speaking of tough, smart women, Tokyo elected their first female governor, Yuriko Koike, primarily to get the 2020 Tokyo Olympics construction and
 transportation projects on track.  As the games closed in Rio, she accepted the Olympic flag in a stunningly gold Kimono. And despite pouring rain she was elegant and composed.  Just to underscore that Japan is a land of wonderful but occasionally strange contrasts, the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared in the same closing ceremony dressed up as Super Mario, the iconic Nintendo character from the well-known Mario Bros video games.  Our local Japanese guides, and my partner Gary who has lived in Japan for seventeen years, were surprised and stunned.  The wonders of Japan never cease.

All this underscores the vast preparations now underway for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  Japan already has a robust public transportation network, and is re-using some of the venues from the 1964
 Tokyo Games.  But the Olympics are much bigger now than in 1964, and Japan
 is investing hundreds of billions of yen in updating needed
 infrastructure.  The cost of building seven temporary buildings for the 
games has already spiraled from $690 million to over $2.6 billion.

In addition to the classic sports competitions for which the Olympics are known
, five new sports – representing 18 events and 474 athletes – were 
added to the 2020 program.  Two new sports, skateboard and sports
 climbing, will occur in urban settings for a grittier, street-like 
environment.  Two other new sports, baseball/softball and karate, will
 occur in more traditional Olympics venues.  Finally, the surfing
 competition will show off Japan’s strong boarding culture: although Japan 
has relatively few sandy beaches, the extensive shores have many great
 surfing breaks.

Fittingly for Japan’s role in science and engineering, we expect to see
 some really great technologies at work at the next Olympics.  Work has
 already begun on mag-lev (magnetic levitation) trains in part of Tokyo to 
replace the super-fast shinkansen (bullet) trains, and a standalone robot
 village for all of the non-human support that will be used throughout the
 games.  There are also plans to use 3-D lasers to assist judging in some
 of the Gymnastics events.

Also consistent with Japan’s environmental focus and consumer electronics expertise, the metals for the medals – gold, silver, and copper (bronze) – will be derived from the recycling of cellphones and other electronic devices.

Finally, a quick note on tickets, packages, and pricing.  These are
 developed and controlled by the host city, Tokyo, and typically are set 
two years before the games.  We are monitoring this closely, and will
 publish any information about individual tickets and packages for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as soon as 
it is released.

Call to Action Button