TOKYO: From a historic coronavirus postponement, to a sexism row prompting its high organiser to resign, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have confronted many hurdles.
Because the pandemic rages, with lower than six months till the Video games start, it is nonetheless unsure what this summer time’s occasion will seem like – if it occurs in any respect.
Right here, AFP chronicles Tokyo’s Olympic journey:
2013: TEARS OF JOY
Information presenters shed tears and crowds erupt in enjoyment of September because the Worldwide Olympic Committee names Tokyo host of the 2020 Video games.
Ideas flip to the victims of Japan’s devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with the Olympics seen by some as an opportunity to rebuild.
2015 TO 2016: NEW STADIUM, NEW LOGO
Proposals for a brand new nationwide stadium return to the drafting board in July 2015 following public anger over the US$2 billion price ticket.
The next 12 months, a brand new “snake-eye” brand is unveiled following a plagiarism scandal and instantly derided as “boring”.
The unique brand by designer Kenjiro Sano needed to be ditched eight months earlier following allegations it too intently resembled that of a theatre within the Belgian metropolis of Liege. Sano denied plagiarism.
2019: PAYMENTS PROBE
French magistrates cost the pinnacle of Japan’s Olympic committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, as they probe funds totalling US$2.three million made earlier than and after Tokyo’s nomination.
Takeda protests his innocence however later steps down from the function.
In October, the IOC shifts the Olympic marathon to northern Sapporo to keep away from the capital’s sweltering summer time warmth – a shock transfer that infuriates Tokyo officers.
MARCH 24, 2020: HISTORIC POSTPONEMENT
With COVID-19 spreading quickly worldwide, Japan and the IOC postpone the Olympics in a historic determination.
A brand new date is introduced for the opening ceremony – Jul 23, 2021 – however the occasion will nonetheless be known as Tokyo 2020.
Organisers say in April there may be “completely no” probability of suspending the Video games a second time.
However simply weeks after the postponement, then-prime minister Shinzo Abe warns it will likely be “tough” to carry the occasion in 2021 if the virus just isn’t contained.
SEPTEMBER 2020: GAMES TO HAPPEN “WITH OR WITHOUT COVID-19”
IOC vice-president John Coates tells AFP the Olympics will go forward, whatever the pandemic, because the “Video games that conquered COVID-19”.
Abe resigns as a consequence of poor well being and new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says Japan is “decided” to host the postponed Video games.
Preparations proceed as high athletes put the brand new 60,000-seat stadium via its paces behind closed doorways.
DECEMBER 2020: EXTRA COSTS, NEW RULES
Anti-virus measures and different delay-related prices add 294 billion yen (US$2.eight billion) to the worth tag, which has ballooned to a minimum of 1.64 trillion yen (US$15.eight billion) – making Tokyo 2020 probably the costliest Summer season Olympics in historical past.
Organisers define plans for holding the occasion safely, with athletes dealing with common testing and restrictions on mingling, and spectators spared quarantine however banned from cheering.
The IOC says it’ll attempt to make sure as many members and spectators as attainable are vaccinated, however jabs won’t be compulsory.
JANUARY 2021: VIRUS SURGES, SUPPORT DROPS
Japan declares a virus state of emergency within the Tokyo area simply over six months earlier than the Olympics are as a consequence of open, with different components of Japan later added and the measures prolonged for a second month.
Polls present round 80 per cent of individuals in Japan say the occasion needs to be cancelled or postponed once more.
However organisers and the IOC insist the occasion shall be held, and Suga says the Video games shall be “proof of mankind’s victory over the virus”.
FEBRUARY 2021: SEXISM FURORE
Yoshiro Mori, chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, resigns after his claims that girls discuss an excessive amount of in conferences spark a firestorm of criticism.
“Once you enhance the variety of feminine government members, if their talking time is not restricted to a sure extent, they’ve issue ending, which is annoying,” the gaffe-prone 83-year-old stated.