Olympics in the News: Talk about Tokyo

The International Olympic Committee has been in the news a lot these past few days, so I simply had to blog about it! The Olympics were mugging for the headlines when it was announced that Tokyo won the 2020 Olympic bid.

1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan

The last time the international community used "Tokyo" and "Olympics" in the same conversation, it was for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games.

These Olympics were an important step for Japan as they followed a tough period in world history that included World War II, were the first Olympics ever held in Asia, and a precarious time for apartheid in South Africa. Fifty-six years later, Tokyo will again host the Olympic Games; much has changed in the world since that time. Japan has in the past few years experienced both a horrific tsunami and the tragedy at Fukushima, but they now stand strong.

The Vote

As a researcher of Olympic host cities and why they are chosen, I looked up on my trusty source GamesBids.com what those reasons might be. Tokyo was up against Madrid and Istanbul in the final voting rounds. When extrapolating which city I thought would win, I was sure that Istanbul would be a strong contender, but that if they didn't win, that Madrid would be chosen. I thought that Beijing and Rio were indicators of the direction that the IOC would be moving in for future host city choices. Countries that fall under the category of "developing" but have many of the features of the traditional developed countries seemed to be the trend for Olympic host cities (or at least I hoped it would be). Istanbul was my top choice because Turkey is in a relatively volatile position right now as it teeters between these two categories. However, Turkey can blame its neighbors, in part, for the loss; unstable countries nearby can definitely affect an IOC vote. I thought that Madrid might have been the next possible choice because of the long-term benefits that Barcelona saw from the 1992 Games. Spain's financial risk is what caused its loss.

To me, Tokyo was a surprise, but to the voting members, it was the clear choice. Tokyo was ahead in voting rounds from the beginning and won with a vote of 60 over Istanbul's 36 in the final round. 

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games 

Regardless of who I thought would win, I am very excited for the Tokyo Olympics. Japan is close to my heart because I have been there on two separate occasions and work closely with Broomfield Sister Cities to bring Japanese students to Colorado, and vise versa. 

2020 Olympic venue concept from dezeen.com
There are a few things that I think Japan will really do right when it comes to hosting the Olympic Games. When I was in Tokyo, I was constantly amazed by the technology that surrounded me and the way it was seamlessly integrated into society. If we were dumbfounded by the sheer amount of people participating simultaneously in the Beijing Opening Ceremony, then I believe we will be twice as amazed at the way that technology is integrated in the show that Tokyo puts together. Furthermore, Japanese athletes have spotless doping records, which is one of the main sporting debates going on today. 

Tokyo will have the special opportunity to build on the successful legacy of the 1964 Games and create something even more spectacular that puts Japan on the map once again.


  1. Great post! Personally, I'm most interested in how they're going to weave the games into city. Tokyo is so jam-packed that I'm sure they'll come up with some really creative ways to make space.

  2. I think that will definitely be interesting to see as well. Nowadays, as it was with the London 2012 Games, the actual stadiums are not necessarily in the city center. They can use this opportunity to build up any parts of the city that need development, as long as they don't kick too many people out in the process!


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