LOOKING AHEAD to the 2020 Tokyo, Japan Olympic Games
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LOOKING AHEAD to the 2020 Tokyo, Japan Olympic Games

By Gabriela Knutson for The J-Pop Exchange

It has been almost 4 months since the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games officially ended, and we are slowly getting excited about the Summer Games in 2020; most importantly, because the games are in Tokyo, Japan! Again.

These will be the second Olympic games in Japan’s fast-paced, pulsing capital, after the first ones in 1964. The 1964 Olympics focused on highlighting Japan’s evolution, while these games are focusing on the future.

Some stadiums and complexes are being created from refurbished old Olympic venues, and some are being created from scratch; especially the ones that will have new sports. Many famous Japanese landmarks will serve as venues and beautiful scenery for the games in the Land of the Rising Sun. The Imperial Palace Gardens, one of the city’s most famous tourist sites, will host race walking events. The Fuji International Speedway will showcase Mount Fuji in the background as road cyclists fight for gold in front of the huge crowds. Further, proving that the Tokyo Games are all about looking into the future, the Fukushima prefecture will host some events, less than a decade after being wrecked by a tsunami and an earthquake. The Azuma Stadium, which is set to host some of the baseball and softball games, is located about 60 miles away from the nuclear plant that was destroyed in the 2011 disaster.

The international event is expected to bring in more than 11,000 athletes from over 206 nations. Russia’s participation is still up in the air, as they are eagerly waiting to get their IOC suspension lifted in time for the games. All of the 11,000 athletes will be fighting their hearts out to earn the coveted Olympic medals.

The games will have a total of 339 gold medals. All of the medals will be made from recycled cell phones, and organizers have been collecting them for the last few months. Organizers are hoping to collect 8 tons of metal from mobile phones and small electronic devices, which should be enough to create the needed 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals. The plan is part of a project to curb the ballooning costs of the Tokyo Games, and also hopes to promote sustainability and direct involvement by the residents of Tokyo.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, officially called the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, written in Japanese as 第三十二回オリンピック競技大会, is accepting 5 new sports into its program! As a result, 18 events and 474 athletes have been added by the International Olympic Committee. The new sports include skateboarding, karate, surfing, sports climbing, and baseball/softball. This move to add new sports has been called “the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program in modern history,” and is designed to bring in more of the younger generation. The 5 new sports are a combination of established and emerging sports, popular with the youth in Japan. Olympic officials say this addition will give even more young athletes the chance of their lifetime, and give young fans sports they are interested in. Karate, with its origins in Japan, is a very popular choice. Some of the other sports, however, have not gone over so well, and some believe netball and squash warranted a spot in the Olympics more than nontraditional sports like skateboarding and baseball/softball.

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