Tokyo 2020 reflects on global success, with Games legacy already inspiring future generations

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were a success. That was the message delivered by the Organising Committee in its final report to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Beijing earlier today.

The Tokyo 2020 delegation at the 139th IOC Session at the CNCC ahead during the 139th IOC Session at the CNCC ahead of the XXIV IOC Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. IOC/Greg Martin

Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko and CEO Toshiro Muto highlighted the positive impact and legacy of the Games that will benefit generations to come.

President Hashimoto said: "We were able to create a stage where athletes from all around the world came together. The scenes we observed every day, together, were about emotional relationships among people, unity in diversity, a symbol of peace and what we call the power of sports. While various opinions were expressed ahead of the Games in Japan, many people were able to find the essential value of the Games."

Several independent opinion surveys in Japan and globally found that these positive assessments are widely shared. In an international survey, 65 per cent of the respondents rated the Tokyo Games a success. A September poll conducted in Japan by a media outlet showed that nearly 80 per cent of Japanese residents had positive views about the Games.

In meeting the challenges of the global pandemic, Tokyo 2020 became a template for other large sporting events, including the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, which will formally start on Friday.

The Olympic sport programme in Tokyo was the largest in history, with 33 sports competitions in 42 venues culminating in 339 medal events. Five additional sports - baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing – joined the 28 existing sports to generate new audiences and inspire young athletes around the world.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto also underlined that a revised budget, based on a provisional accounts settlement, showed additional savings of 1.8 billion US dollars, for a total expenditure of 13.6 billion.

The Tokyo 2020 final report covered a number of other topics:

Legacy

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) recently announced that it will reopen some of the new Games venues for use by the public and athletes. The Ariake Urban Sports Park, originally intended as a temporary facility, will become a centre for urban sports for people of all ages. TMG is also building on the Games legacy with a concerted effort to further encourage sports participation through its “TOKYO Sports Legacy Vision” initiative. Sports participation among Tokyo citizens has increased from 39 per cent in 2007 to 69 per cent last year.

COVID-19 countermeasures

More than one million COVID-19 tests produced a positivity rate for the Olympic and Paralympic Games participants of only 0.01 per cent from airport tests, and only 0.03 per cent from daily screening tests – far lower than the rates in Japan and in most other countries. Follow-up research has found no evidence of transmission between Games participants and city residents.

Technology

Innovative technologies at Tokyo 2020 included the use of carbon-free hydrogen fuel for the Olympic cauldron and Games vehicles, as well as an efficient face-recognition system to expedite venue access and the use of robots to support officials at competition venues. Tokyo 2020 was also the most digitally connected Games in history, with more than 190 million daily visitors to the official website - double the number for Rio 2016.

Sustainability

Tokyo 2020 went beyond carbon neutrality by reducing carbon emissions and compensating more than the remaining emissions. Carbon-reduction measures included the use of renewable energy, fuel-efficient vehicles and minimising construction. In addition, CO2 emissions from the Games fell by 800,000 tonnes due to the fact that the Games were held with almost no spectators.

Following the report and the conclusion of today’s meetings, Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko was named as winner of the World Trophy at the IOC’s 2021 Women and Sport Awards.

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