Almost 9,400 athletes are playing, and nearly 470,000 questions have been answered. As well as questions just for fun, there are questions around important topics for athletes: such as anti-doping; prevention of competition manipulation; the Playbook; how to prepare for, and cope with competing in, high temperatures; and mental health.
Life in the Olympic Village
The epicentre of athlete friendship and connection is the Olympic Village, where competitors from 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the Refugee Olympic Team, representing many different cultures and backgrounds, live together in peace, harmony and solidarity for the duration of their Olympic experience.
“It's amazing to be able to be around the Village and to see all the different cultures and the different people and everyone being here to compete at the highest level,” said US skateboarder Zion Wright, able to experience the Village for the first time as an athlete competing in one of the five sports that Tokyo 2020 added to its Olympic programme.
Regulations to keep athletes as safe as possible from COVID mean they can arrive up to five days before their competition, and stay up to 48 hours afterwards.
Just like at other Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are many facilities in the Village to help athletes to relax and keep them entertained during one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking times of their lives.
There are two parks: Harumi Wharf Park and Harumi Greenbelt Park, with jogging paths. In the Village Plaza, residents can find shops, a café, a hair salon, a nail bar, a photo studio, a post office, a bank and a Tokyo 2020 official shop. In the Galaxy Athlete Lounge, athletes can pick up their complementary limited-edition Tokyo 2020 mobile phone from Worldwide Olympic Partner Samsung, to help them to share their Olympic experiences with family and friends. They can also make origami, and play table tennis, digital darts and video games. All activities have the necessary COVID-19 countermeasures in place.
At the Japan Culture Station, visitors can watch and experience traditional Japanese culture such as flower arrangement, a tea ceremony and furoshiki – cloth-wrapping as a sustainable alternative to wrapping paper and plastic bags. In the Asics shoe station, there is an opportunity to have feet scanned to be accurately measured for a free pair of customised trainers with bespoke soles.
“The athlete experience at the Olympic Village is very positive,” said Kirsty Coventry, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, which represents the voices of current, future and recently retired Olympic athletes within the Olympic Movement.
“They are very happy – everything is working pretty smoothly, and they have been sharing a lot of those experiences on social media. They are very excited to have the Games and to be competing, especially after five years.”
“Getting to experience the athlete village for the first time, the energy there is electric,” confirmed Canadian climber Alannah Yip. “There are so many people from every corner of the globe, it's really inspiring.”
In the residential zone, there is a fitness centre and a polyclinic for any health needs, offering free acupuncture, physiotherapy and cold baths. In the casual dining restaurant, food is free of charge for athletes and team officials and the menu is changed every two days, offering local cuisine from different prefectures. In the more formal dining hall, there arehalal, vegetarian and other specialist options.
Worldwide Olympic Partner Bridgestone has provided bicycles which can be used to travel around the Village, along with self-driving Tokyo 2020 Version e-Palette electric vehicles by Toyota. In the space for Athlete365, the International Olympic Committee’s dedicated platform for athletes, residents were able to vote for the new members of the Athletes’ Commission.
Sustainability is at the core of the design of the Village, with a focus on recycled materials and renewable energy. In the hydrogen-powered Relaxation House, residents can enjoy massage chairs.
More than 1,000 athletes have signed the Olympic Truce Mural. This concept was introduced to the Village in 1992 to perpetuate the peaceful truce traditionally agreed by competing regions during the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Truce Resolution was organised in cooperation with the IOC and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, co-sponsored by 186 countries, and adopted during the 74th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in December 2019.
Gratitude for the Japanese people
The Australian team have hung a banner from their building which says: “We are grateful from our hearts” in Japanese. A Twitter user in Japan posted: “For holding [the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020] in this difficult situation, I think this is a message of gratitude to people all over Japan.” The post has 51,000 likes.
選手村の中の紹介を— 太田雄貴 YUKI OTA (@yuking1125) July 31, 2021
Many well-known athletes, including Australian diver Sam Fricker and US volleyball player Kelsey Robinson, have posted on social media about their time in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village and at the Games, praising the high quality of the food and free services.
The IOC takes its duty of care to athletes very seriously. Olympians and Paralympians have access to a 24-hour mental health helpline in a choice of 70 languages, if they feel they need to talk to someone about any issue.
They can also have up to six free consultations with counsellors around the world, for up to three months after the Games.
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