With a year left until the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirms venues and schedules for the global sporting event. The summer games were originally set on July 24 to August 9, 2020, but was postponed to next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an IOC session held online, the group confirms July 23 to August 8, 2021—a close mirror of the original dates—as the schedule for the games, with women’s softball and soccer and men’s soccer opening just a few days earlier, on July 21 and 22, respectively. Forty-three competition venues, including the rebuilt National Stadium, a media center, and the Olympic Village, described by IOC president Thomas Bach as “the beating heart” of the games, are also confirmed.
The Tokyo Olympics moves forward, but there will be adjustments to reflect the reality of the pandemic. Bach notes how the situation may change from now until the opening in 2021, and thus the IOC needs “to prepare for multiple scenarios.”
With advice from World Health Organization experts and Japanese authorities in an All Partners Task Force, the IOC is drawing up COVID-19 countermeasures, including possibly simplifying events, to safeguard participating athletes. Bach had also mentioned he is opposed to holding events without an audience, but this remains an option.
As for the Olympic flame, which came from Athens and arrived in Tokyo last March, its fire continues to burn in a secure location in the capital. Though the flame’s public display was suspended because of the pandemic, upcoming digital activities will center on the symbol of hope and unity.
To mark one year before the Opening Ceremony, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will release a video on July 23 at 8 p.m. (JST). The Olympic brand campaign, #StrongerTogether, will also be unveiled.