Tokyo 2021 #1YearToGo

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TOKYO — The official cost of the postponed Tokyo Olympics has increased by 22%, the local organizing committee said in unveiling its new budget on Tuesday.

In an online news conference, organizers said the Olympics will cost $15.4 billion to stage. This is up from $12.6 billion in last year's budget.

 

The Olympics are to open on July 23. The Paralympics follow on Aug. 24.

Audits by the Japanese government over the last several years, however, show the costs are higher than officially stated and are at least $25 billion.

Tokyo said the Olympics would cost about $7.5 billion when the IOC awarded the games in 2013. A University of Oxford study this year said Tokyo is the most expensive Summer Olympics on record.

"The Tokyo Olympics are operating in a very tough environment,'' Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, said when asked about the record costs. Muto suggested the games should be looked at as an investment rather than a cost.

Japanese government entities are responsible for all of the costs except for $6.7 billion in a privately funded operating budget.

"The IOC and TOCOG (Tokyo organizing committee) want the public budget to appear as small as possible not only to guard against public criticism, but also to not discourage future candidate cities,'' Franz Waldenberger, director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo, wrote in a recent paper examining Olympic costs.

Waldenberger noted the Tokyo city government and branches of the central government use the Olympics as "a window of opportunity to obtain additional'' funding.

Organizers in October announced cost reductions of $280 million, cutting out frills including hospitality offerings. However, no cuts have been made to the sports program with a full complement of 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of officials, judges, and sponsors expected to attend.

Muto acknowledged the cost had increased for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics. Organizers were expected to report a figure later in the week. Japan's Kyodo news agency, citing sources close to the committee, reported the increase is about $33 million.

Decisions about fans and preventive measures for the pandemic are expected to be rolled out in the spring. Reduced fan numbers will affect ticket sales, a major source of income.

Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries with 3,000 deaths attributed to the virus. That milestone was reached on Tuesday. New cases have been rising for a month, adding to public skepticism about the Olympics.

In a telephone poll of 1,200 people published this month by Japanese broadcaster NHK, 63% said the Olympics should be postponed again or cancelled, and 27% said the games should be held. The poll was conducted on Dec. 11-13.

The IOC and local organizers have said the Olympics will be cancelled if they cannot be held this time.

Local organizers are trying to recover some of the rising costs by coaxing more revenue from domestic sponsors. About 70 sponsors have already contributed a record $3.3 billion, driven by Dentsu Inc. the marketing agent for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Nikkei newspaper reported last week, citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter,'' that 15 top-tier domestic sponsors will add an estimated $150 million to their contributions. It said Japan Airlines, ANA airline, and the Tobu Skytower were considering contributions.

Nikkei is also a Tokyo Olympic sponsor along with Japan's other leading newspapers Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Asahi. Several regional papers are also sponsors.

"We would like to increase revenue more than expected although it is challenging,'' Gakuji Ito, the organizing committee chief financial officer, said.

Ito said insurance coverage might pay out up to $500 million to help cover increased costs.

All expenses the organizing committee cannot cover will fall to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Ito said.

The budget shows the International Olympic Committee is contributing $1.3 billion to cover costs of the games. Its contribution to Tokyo will not increase, Ito said.

Ito was asked if he would seek more money from the IOC.

"No, we are not thinking about it,'' he replied.

The IOC's finances are stressed. It generates 91% of its income from selling broadcast rights and sponsorships. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has stalled its revenue flow, increasing the importance of staging the Olympics in Tokyo.

The Beijing Winter Olympics open six months after Tokyo closes, in February 2022.

The IOC is also under pressure to support national Olympic committees and international sports federations, many of which rely heavily on IOC contributions.

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Moving the office of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) from the premises of 121 Abercromby Street in Port-of-Spain is inevitable but president Brian Lewis and his staff are taking it in stride.

The owners are in the process of selling the property.

However, the current situation of having to relocate according to Lewis, has not hampered the preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

The premier sporting event was originally set to take place last year but was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and is now scheduled to unfold from July 23 to August 8.

"We are hoping that, regardless what happens we hope to be here until after the Olympics. We also have plans for the celebration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the TTOC", Lewis told Guardian Media Sports on Friday.

He said, "I want to make it clear, we are not being forced out. We have a good landlord and over the past 10 years that we have been here, we've made an effort to be a good tenant. We hope we are given appropriate consideration.

"We are not worried."

Lewis added that the working committee at the TTOC has not allowed the current COVID-19 pandemic to throw the organisation off, saying: "Supporting the athletes remain our main focus. Zone out the distractions and not let the uncontrollable distract you. It's about pivoting and not being discouraged and become disenchanted.

Lewis explained that, "Since 2013 when I came in as president, our priority was that the TTOC ought to have its own home. However, the resources at the TTOC, is not infinite. The focus has always been on the athletes, this is why most of our fundraising has been athlete-centred like the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund (which was established in 2015) and bonuses."

"Nothing happens before its time," said Lewis, whose committee's support for the national athletes has remained rigid during the pandemic.

He pointed that, "We got good news with the introduction of vaccines. Now with the new variant of the COVID, there is uncertainty but we are staying focused."

Lewis, who is also president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) said now it's about tapping into its fundraising ability and "not being afraid or fearful of the move toward the committee owning its own home".

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The Olympics and Euros will likely take place in pared back form, but the overall landscape is looking a lot more like it was in 2020 than we were expecting just a month ago

New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) chief executive Kereyn Smith says the country is "on track" to send a team of more than 200 athletes to Tokyo 2020, which would be its biggest ever contingent at an Olympic Games.

The Silver Ferns sent 199 athletes to Rio 2016 and 29 have so far been officially confirmed as on the plane to Tokyo, provided the rearranged Games goes ahead as scheduled from July 23 to August 8 2021.

"At the moment, around 187 quota spots have been either won by individuals or New Zealand teams,” Smith said, as reported by Stuff.

"That still stands at the moment and there is still the possibility for some other athletes to qualify, provided their events take place as scheduled.

"We anticipate that might be, say, 20 to 30 maximum so we would be anticipating an Olympic team of around 200 to 220.

"It’s just uncertain how qualification events that are scheduled, whether they are able to take place in the manner that’s planned.

"What we know is the quotas that have been earned by New Zealand or by specific athletes are remaining.

"So those people can be comforted by the fact they’ve got a spot.

"It’s just the balance of other athletes at the moment we’re working through."

Smith said she was confident of Tokyo 2020 going ahead on its scheduled dates in 2021 adding: "We are confident things will go ahead.

"It’s not ‘if there’s an Olympic Games’, it’s ‘what will they look like?’ That’s where we’re at. So we’re really optimistic about that."

In total, the New Zealand team for Tokyo 2020 is expected to be around 450 including support staff.

Speaking about the planning that was currently going on she added: "We know it’s unlikely that we’ll have to quarantine when we go into Japan, so hopefully we can go into a facility that we’ll be able to manage physical activity and health, but continue training.

"That will be important anyway, because the heat factor is quite significant.

"For us coming from New Zealand, where we’ve been very fortunate to pretty much continue on our life and our training, we’re quickly going to have to adapt and come to understand what that competition environment will look like.

"There’s a lot of things we have to think through around physical distancing, Personal Protection Equipment, all of the measures that are being talked about in general will be part of sport as we know it for the foreseeable future.

"We’ve just got to roll with it."

At Rio 2016, New Zealand won 18 medals - a tally that consisted of four golds, nine silvers and five bronzes.

Two of the country's golds came in rowing courtesy of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray in the men's coxless pair and Mahe Drysdale in the men's single sculls.

The remaining two gold medallists were canoeist Lisa Carrington in the women's K1 200 metres and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in the men's 49er sailing.

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GENEVA -- Breakdancing became an official Olympic sport on Monday.

The International Olympic Committee's pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience saw street dance battles officially added to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Games.

Also confirmed for Paris by the IOC executive board were skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.

Those three sports will make their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo Games which were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic by one year to open on July 23, 2021.

Alongside the additions, the IOC made subtractions: The slate of 329 medal events in Paris is 10 fewer than in Tokyo, including four lost from weightlifting, and the athlete quota in 2024 of 10,500 is around 600 less than next year.

Two sports with troubled governing bodies -- boxing and weightlifting -- saw the biggest cuts to the number of athletes they can have in Paris.

Weightlifting should have 120 athletes in Paris, which is less than half of its total at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The sport could be dropped entirely due to its historic doping problems and IOC concerns over the pace and depth of reform at the International Weightlifting Federation.

The IOC stressed its future priorities for Paris, and beyond to the 2028 Los Angeles Games, by claiming it will hit a long-term target of equal participation by men and women athletes, and more urbanized events.

With Paris organizers needing time to prepare their project, the IOC kept to its pre-pandemic schedule to confirm the 2024 sports lineup this month even before some are tested in Tokyo.

Breakdancing will be called breaking at the Olympics, as it was in the 1970s by hip-hop pioneers in the United States.

It was proposed by Paris organizers almost two years ago after positive trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Breaking passed further stages of approval in 2019 from separate decisions by the IOC board and full membership.

In Paris, breaking has been given a prestige downtown venue, joining sport climbing and 3-on-3 basketball at Place de le Concorde.

Surfing will be held more than 15,000 kilometers (9,000 miles) away in the Pacific Ocean off the beaches of Tahiti, as the IOC already agreed in March.

Among the 28 established Summer Games sports, a total of 41 additional events were proposed to Monday's meeting.

All increases were rejected, including ocean rowing and parkour, and changes were allowed only at the expense of existing events being dropped. Two extreme canoe slalom events will replace canoe sprint events, and the men's 50-kilometer race walk will be replaced by a mixed gender team event.

The IOC said "limiting the overall number of events is a key element in curbing the growth of the Olympic program as well as additional costs."

In other IOC business, Bach confirmed the more than 11,000 competitors at the Tokyo Olympics should not stay in the official athlete village for the entire games, to help limit the risk of COVID-19 infections.

Teams will be advised of a policy that athletes should arrive at their accommodation no more than five days before the start of their competition and have left two days after it ends.

Boxing is on the Tokyo program despite its governing body, known as AIBA, being derecognized by the IOC last year.

A seven-candidate presidential election is being held this weekend and Bach said AIBA was "well aware" of the Olympic body's concerns about some of the contenders, which he did not identify.
 

The IOC was skeptical last year about an offer to clear AIBA's $16 million debts, if the sport's Olympic status was retained, by Russian boxing official Umar Kremlev who is now a candidate.

The AIBA election is scheduled as a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel of judges is preparing a verdict in a landmark case in the Russian doping saga that could see widespread punishments imposed on the nation's sports.

Asked if Russian election campaigns were appropriate in Olympic circles at this time, Bach said: "It is up to everybody to make his or her own judgment about any such candidatures."

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