Learnings from Tokyo 2020 for Paris 2024, LA28 and Brisbane 2032

Paris 2024 has received the Olympic flag as part of the official handover segment at the Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony. Stakeholders from the forthcoming Paris, LA and Brisbane Games discuss what they have learned from Tokyo.

Eiffel Tower France during Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony 2021 Getty Images

Etienne Thobois, Chief Executive Officer of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, who took part in the Games Experience Programme.

What have you thought of your experiences in Tokyo?

For an Organising Committee, the experience you get from watching the Games prior to your edition is so important. It allows you to feel the energy and the size and the complexity of the Games. It is an opportunity for us to check a lot of things, especially now that we are only three years out, and to see how this unfolds technically on the ground.

It’s a fantastic energy boost, and frankly we can’t thank our Japanese friends enough for managing to deliver these Games in the current context. What they’ve done is really commendable.

Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo receives the olympic flag from President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo receives the Olympic flag 2021 Getty Images

What have you learned?

I’ve seen a lot of Games since 1992 but, knowing that we are next, you see it from another angle. You look ahead to try to see what we can do with Paris 2024 through these Games.

We can see how fantastic it would be to have Games that are open to the public – to make sure there is a connection between the athletes and the media and the population. We can already feel that this exists here with the media and the athletes.

The environment is a big focus for us. What the Japanese are doing in respect of certain materials, wood, waste management and so on. This is another source of inspiration. We think we might even raise the standard with Paris 2024, along with the big trend in society.

Another focus is the use of technology. We see here, for example, the remote interpreting system and the TV production, the way people are experiencing the Games through various apps – for a better stakeholder experience here, and a better spectator experience tomorrow. The drones at the Opening Ceremony were fantastic and very beautiful.

We are trying to look at our strategy and how we can get inspired by what is being done here. It’s like a relay; we source ideas to see how we can apply them to our environment.

Paris 2024 handover at the 2020 closing ceremony 2021 Getty Images

Is there anything that surprised you at Tokyo 2020?

When you look at the venues, they’re amazing. The conditions for the athletes are second to none, and that shows on the field. We’ve had exceptional performances. Whenever I go to the Games, the maxim is “athletes first”, and it’s there to see.

The volunteer programme is always a key element; they are so key to the delivery here.

The complexity of transport operations for us as organisers is always a good call to humility because this is a big operation.

Is there anything you have seen that you have time to add to your Games plan?

Yes. This includes very technical things like heat mitigation measures, and also sports presentation. Even though there are no spectators here, you feel there are ways to present the sports. The presentation around the 100 metres was quite inspiring.

In Paris we want to innovate, we want to engage with the whole population again. We want to take the Games out of the stadium; in terms of space – into the city – but also time, whether it’s the legacy side or in early engagement.

Of course, the organisation must be second to none, and we need to serve our stakeholders and the athletes and the media in the way they deserve, but there’s more than this to the Games. Let’s always have in mind why we do this, bring more sport into people’s lives, and engage – to make sure people understand what the Games can bring, and what sport can bring to society.


Future Olympic and Paralympic hosts LA28, including Chief Operating Officer John Harper, were also part of the Games Experience Programme.

What did you think of your experiences at Tokyo 2020?

There's no question these Games brought about new learning. We are incredibly grateful for and appreciative of everyone in Tokyo who worked so hard to host these amazing Games. It was terrific to see the athletes and the competition at the heart of the Games. And it was exciting to see new ways to engage fans worldwide through social and digital platforms.

Delegates from the newly elected Brisbane 2032 were able to witness the early stages of Tokyo 2020. Councillor Adrian Schrinner, Lord Mayor of Brisbane, described his impressions.

What did you think of your experiences at Tokyo 2020?

One of the biggest lessons countries across the world have learned during this global pandemic has been how to adapt in a crisis.

This couldn't have been more apparent during my experience in Tokyo, which demonstrated to me the enormous work Japan and its people had put in to defy the odds and bring the world together to ensure the greatest sporting event on the planet could go ahead.

While the deafening roar of the crowd that usually accompanies the opening ceremony was absent, the Olympic spirit, energy and sense of occasion was still fully on display for the world to witness.

Brisbane Brisbane 2032

What did you learn that will inform your local plans for the Olympic Games?

While the Olympic and Paralympic Games unify countries in the most unique way by bringing the world's best athletes together, it will be an honour and an exciting challenge to bring this event to Brisbane.

From my brief experience of Tokyo 2020 and its venues, which included getting to see the stadium and the International Broadcast Centre, it was obvious what a wonderful legacy Brisbane 2032 will deliver by having these new and improved facilities in our city.

This trip also made it crystal clear to me that excellent transport links are crucial to successful Games.

2021 Getty Images

I'm now more determined than ever to ensure all three levels of government in Australia work closely together to build the infrastructure necessary for Brisbane 2032 to be remembered as the greatest Games ever, and leave an enduring legacy.

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