Tokyo’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) learnt its lessons from previous attempts and came out on top this time, writes Guy Oldenkotte.
The Tokyo 2020 vision promises Games built on Delivery, Celebration and Innovation. Tokyo 2020 LOC CEO Masato Mizuno (pictured right together with Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020) said:
Our aim is to make Tokyo become an Olympic community. We want participation through all generations in Tokyo and beyond. Ultimately we want people to learn about Olympic values such as friendship and respect. The 2020 Olympics will leave a wonderful society behind in Tokyo once the event is over.
Despite these ambitious aims, the Tokyo bid was hampered by the low confidence and support of the Japanese population. The country is still recovering from the 2011 tsunami, and infighting in domestic politics has seen the government struggle against the global economic crisis. Nevertheless, Mizuno believes the Japanese rallied well behind the bid:
It is true that previous polls showed reservations by many Japanese when asked about the bid. But the latest figures say that over 70% of residents in Tokyo support the bid.
To Mizuno comparing polls about support by the population of the various bidding cities means little. Japanese are humble and aim to deliver. They will only celebrate and be jubilant once a task has been accomplished. To him the ticker tape parade, which Olympic athletes received when they returned from the 2012 London Games, is a perfect example of Japanese support for Tokyo’s ambition:
This was the first-ever heroes’ parade of Olympic medallists that was organised to express the nation’s gratitude. TV viewership rates for the event were amazing and over 500,000 people lined the streets on a Monday, to offer a heroes’ welcome to the athletes. Japan won a record-breaking 71 medals in London. The parade was an extraordinary display of Japanese passion and the remarkable power of sport to unite and inspire. The Japanese Olympic team’s unprecedented performance in London makes us even more determined to deliver a dynamic celebration in the heart of the world’s most forward-thinking city.
Tokyo is planning to use 35 venues for the various sports in 2020. Twenty of these venues will have to be built from scratch. Mizuno assures:
Eleven of them will be permanent and legacy. But we will not have any white elephants after the event.
In November last year London-based Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition to design the new Olympic Stadium. In 2020 this new stadium will replace the existing national stadium that was built for the 1964 Summer Olympics.
With the establishment of the new Olympic stadium in motion, Mizuno believes there is plenty of opportunity for providers of products and services to be involved:
We will certainly consider any idea or technology that is suggested to assist us accomplish our ambitions.
A full version of this interview appears in the Autumn issue of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine.