A year out: 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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The Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, from July 24 to   Aug. 9 2020. As the Olympics is just a year away, the preparation for the Games is in full swing. According to the organizers of the event in 2020, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be “the most innovative ever organised, and will rest on three fundamental principles to transform the world: striving for your personal best (achieving your personal best); accepting one another (unity in diversity); and passing on a legacy for the future (connecting to tomorrow)”. 11,090 athletes will compete for 339 medals across 33 sports, and starting from 2020, few new sports will be added to the Summer Olympics roster: karate, skateboarding, surfing, and sports climbing. 

Venues

The Tokyo Olympics will use as many existing competition venues as possible to align with the reforms advocated by Olympic Agenda 2020. A few notable ones include the prestigious Nippon Budokan for judo, the Baji Koen Park for equestrian events, and Yoyogi National Gymnasium for handball. The Tokyo National Stadium, where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and athletics competitions will be hosted, will be completely renovated with a new arena for the games. 

Key players

As much as the athletes have been waiting to present the four years of incredible work that they have put in, the fans have been waiting to see their superstars. These are the five athletes to look for their breakout performance. 

Caeleb Dressel (Swimming): Representing the US, he broke two of Michael Phelp’s records; he set a record of eight medals in a single meet at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, beating the previous record of Phelp’s which was seven. While Dressel took two gold medals as team relays in the 2016 Rio Olympics, he is looking to secure his first individual Olympic medal in 2020.  

Michael Andrew (Swimming): While the US seems to have so many fabulous swimmers, Andrew is a little special. He was 14 years old when he became a professional athlete, which made him the youngest swimmer in the history of the US to do so. Although Andrew competed in five events at the US Olympic Trials in 2016 and did not qualify, with his special training called Ultra Short Race Pace Training, he hopes to gain success at the 2020 Olympics. 

Takeru Kitazono (Gymnastics): He is one of the younger athletes who hold the future of Japanese gymnastics, and is the successor of gymnastics great Kohei Uchimura. In the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, he secured five gold medals for the all-around: floor, rings, parallel bars, and horizontal bar events. 

Sydney McLaughlin (Track & Field): She was only 16 years old when she came to represent the US in 400-meter hurdles for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which made her the youngest athlete to compete representing the USA Olympic track and field team in 36 years. Despite her prodigy, she has just reached the semi-finals and failed to move on to the finals. However, this time, McLaughlin has risen to the top; in June, she defeated Dalilah Muhammad, the former Olympic Champion. 

Janja Garnbret (Sport climbing): Sport climbing will be making its first Olympic debut in Tokyo, and so will Janja Garnbret. She has won the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Climbing World Championships in bouldering and combined climbing for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019. She is also the first athlete to win all Bouldering World Cup events in one season. She is spotted as the heavy favorite for the Olympic Gold in the summer of 2020.

Tokyo’s preparation

The role of a nation’s leader during the Olympics season is to make sure that the event indeed turns out into a great success. Led by Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, the organizers plan to showcase the cultural appeals for Olympics, according to the Japantimes. Furthermore, the IOC President Bach has said that Japan will make history; the world’s eyes will be on Japan’s rich history and traditions, innovations, the culture of hospitality, and the love and passion for sports. 

Controversies

Despite the praise and compliments for the year out preparations done from the 2020 games organizer, controversies arise in the mist: the rising Sun flag and radiation issues. The danger with radiation is that it can’t be seen with bare eyes, it can’t be tasted, and it can’t be felt. However, it is true that exposure to radiation can cause cancer. According to The Guardian, Tokyo Olympics organizers said South Korea’s National Olympic Committee sent a letter expressing concern about the possibility of serving food at the Olympics village which is grown from Fukushima prefecture. Strict food safety guidelines prohibit the sale of potentially contaminated food to be served anywhere. 

As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is going to attract numerous tourists, including Koreans, it will especially become more important to be aware of the dangers that one might be exposed to. With the Olympic Games, many hope to feel excitement and joy through watching these athletes perform their best and being united as one world.