LET THE GAMES BEGIN
Get ready to go for gold. MARION McMULLEN sizes up the Tokyo Olympics
1 After being postponed due to Covid, the Tokyo Olympics will finally get under way on July 23, but the famous sporting event will look very different from Games of the past. High-fiving, autograph-hunting and towel-waving will all be off limits to spectators.
2 It’s also a no-booze Olympics. Alcohol will not be available for sale at any of the venues and cannot be brought into events.
3 Venues will be only be allowed to be half full, up to a maximum of 10,000 people, and sports fans will also be asked to refrain from shouting or talking loudly, and to avoid any stop-offs on their way to or from Games venues to limit the spread of coronavirus. Organisers are encouraging clapping rather than cheering.
4 The official cost of the Tokyo Olympics is £11bn, although government audits suggest it is much higher. All but $6.7bn is public money.
5 Masks are a must. Spectators are asked to wear face coverings throughout their visit but they are advised to bear in mind their physical condition in relation to heat stroke. Guidelines acknowledge that wearing a mask could increase the risk.
6 The number of tickets originally announced for the Olympics was about 7.8 million. There were 3.63 million tickets in the hands of fans, but that number has had to be reduced by 910,000 to 2.72 million. A lottery is being used to bring the figure down. However, children attending events as part of a schools programme are exempt from the limits.
7 The limits set are in accordance with Japanese government criteria for other sports events in the country, but do not include individuals connected to Games sponsors or International Olympic Committee delegates, who will be classed as organisers and therefore not counted within the cap. Fans from abroad were banned months ago.
8 The International Olympic Committee is pushing ahead with Tokyo, partly because it depends on broadcast rights sales for almost 75% of its income. Sponsors supply about 18%.
9 Plans to have big screens showing the Olympics at six sites in Tokyo have been cancelled amid growing worries about the coronavirus pandemic. Sites including Inokashira and Yoyogi parks, plus a university in Tokyo, had planned to live stream the Games.
10 Cute characters Miraitowa (above) and Someity are the official mascots for the Olympic Games. They were originally intended to interact with visitors to the sporting events, but now might have to keep their distance.