Olympic Games: from the election to the Covid, a series of hiccups for Tokyo

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Since September 2013 and the attribution of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, more or less big hiccups accumulate on these Olympics. Small step back to the last news: the closed session, announced Thursday evening.

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Suspicions of corruption

From the election by the International Olympic Committee in September 2013, Tokyo 2020 is targeted. Two suspicious payments from a Japanese lobbying company, totaling 1.8 million euros, are detected on the account of Black Tidings, whose beachhead is Pape Massata Diack, son of Lamine Diack, ex- IAAF boss. Including $ 370,000 directly received by the son of one of the most famous men in the Olympic world. A tidy sum to secure the IOC’s votes against Madrid and especially Istanbul. The case has not yet seen its outcome.

A plagiarized logo

The action is chaotic. The first logo, a capital T, turns out to be a plagiarism of a project carried out for the Liège theater in Belgium. The organizers apologize and launch a competition to determine the new visual identity. It is the logo with blue and white rectangles that wins the day. And this time, no controversy.

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An overpriced stadium

The Olympic stadium, located in the Sendagaya district, should have belonged to the Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. Its enclosure with its gigantic manta ray-like roof was launched. The first “blue prints” were printed. But the bill was hugely swelling. More than two billion euros. In disaster, the organizing committee closes the portfolio and gives the project to Kengo Kuma. A 69,000-seat stadium, much cheaper, surrounded by vegetation on its first ring. Is this stadium cursed? During preparatory work, remains of 187 human bodies were discovered at its location.

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Too hot ?

After mid-July, Japan switches to the hot season. The IOC and the organizers have apparently forgotten that at dawn, the thermometer climbs above 30 degrees and the humidity level will reach 80%. In 2019, during the World Athletics Championships in Doha, in front of the spectacle of night races, the IOC and the organizers fear for the health of the athletes. Marathon and walking will take tours of Sapporo, the big city of the North Island, in cooler temperatures. Too bad for the triathletes who will sweat hard in Tokyo Bay. In 1964, the Olympic Games were held in the fall, with milder temperatures.

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The Covid, the end point

All of this might have been forgotten without the coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has reduced the Olympic Games from month to month. Apart from the total number of athletes which has been preserved, all other categories have been asked to tighten their belts. The health protocol is heavy and the final blow in the project: the closed session announced this Thursday after the declaration of a 4th state of emergency in the Tokyo area.

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