Olympic Bid Hots Up

News & Views Sports Tokyo 2020 - January 11th, 2013
Olympic Boy

Tokyo bid team visit London to show World what they are made of.

Barely days seem to have passed since the excitement in London last summer – it has been just over six months – but now it’s Tokyo’s turn to try and capture the public’s hearts and minds, as well as, of course, those of the voting members of the International Olympic Committee.

A bid team headed to London this week for the most high-profile yet press conference announcing the status of the bid for Tokyo to play host in 2020. The city is hoping to take the baton from Rio, which is already more than half way through its preparations for the 2016 Games.

Perhaps the most well known figure in the delegation was Homare Sawa, a Tokyo 2020 Bid Ambassador who captained Japan’s women’s soccer team – the Nadeshiko – to a silver medal in London (they lost 2-1 to the U.S. in the final at Wembley Stadium) after winning the World Championship in 2011. Also present was Tokyo’s new governor, Naoki Inose.

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 headed the team, which announced with the video you can see below the bid’s motto, “Tomorrow Begins”. He stressed the importance of planning and clearly knows how vital it is to show readyness – perhaps also wanting to ride the wave of good feeling coming out of London.

Takeda said, “London 2012 gave us an additional lesson in how to host. Seb Coe and his team demonstrated the importance of preparation and attention to detail. They showed how early, efficient delivery meant that they had time to focus on the vital ‘extra’ elements that take any Games from good to great. I’m talking about things like city dressing, cultural events and, of course, the wonderful Games Makers. Now, we believe we have plans that will see Tokyo stage Games that will also inspire a generation.”

The two-minute film is a montage of clips from Japan’s most successful Olympics interspersed with moments of celebration and coming together back in Tokyo; we see victory parades and face painted fans “coming together” to show what community spirit a home Games could bring.

Opening with a shot of that most well known of Japanese infrastructures – Shinkansen lines – and peppered with happy faces and even a spot of futurology (can you see the 2020-model smartphone?) it might inspire some good feeling, but will it work?

Foreign and international looking faces are a key part of the video, and they run through it. When one lone butterfly-heart leaves a schoolgirl in Shibuya, and a young fan in a sports arena, it seems to then multiply (a metaphor for the passion of the people?) and eventually bursts from subway lines and from people as they celebrate. But when the ‘feeling’ spreads from Japan to the world that we see what the Olympics is all about. It isn’t just for Tokyo, it’s for the world.

Takeda added, “We will host a dynamic celebration, fuelled by the amazing passion of Japanese sports fans and that will ignite the imagination of the entire world.”

Those foreign faces were not only celebrating the passion the rest of the world shows towards the Olympics but also the international nature of Tokyo. We were pleased to see 17 year old Lynne Hutchison, who was born in Tokyo and was a member of Team GB’s rhythmic gymnastics team in 2012, discussing in a video link how Tokyo “is a great city for young people.” She said, “Tokyo 2020 is ready to inspire a generation like London did. Games in Tokyo will be a party!”

We can’t wait.

This was all an important step in the run-up to the final vote in Buenos Aires, on 7 September 2013, that will decide the host city of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad and the XVI Paralympic Games in 2020. Will it be Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid?

Text by Matthew Holmes