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From 23 July to 8 August, the long-awaited XXXII edition of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo will finally be held, not without uncertainties and problems: an event not to be missed and about the particularities of which we have prepared for you a long list of things you need to know !


A night shot in the Japanese capital © Ryunosuke Kikuno

Here are 20 curiosities to know about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics:

  1. Double for Tokyo : After the 1964 Olympics, which marked Japan's debut as a host country, this year will be the second time that the Summer Olympic Games will take place in the Japanese capital.
  2. The Olympic logo: Ichimatsu moyo (checkered pattern) is the design chosen as the Olympic logo created by the Japanese designer Asao Tokolo, inspired by the Edo period: its concentric checkerboard shape aims to recall unity between the various participating countries.
  3. Renovated Olympic venues: More than half of the host structures date back to 1964 and on the occasion of this year's Summer Olympic Games they were renovated and modernized with significant and sustainable interventions.


One of Tokyo's stadiums, ready to host competitions in summer 2021 © via

  1. The Tokyo 2020 medals: The material with which the Olympic medals were created was obtained by melting cell phone waste or recycling electronic devices.
  2. The mascots: Miraitowa and Someity, designed by Ryo Taniguchi, represent the lucky charms of the Olympics and Paralympics respectively. The first is depicted with a blue checkered pattern that recalls the official logo, while the second is pink checkered: both were selected in recent months by Japanese primary school children.
  3. Olympics in odd year: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the first time that the Olympics have been postponed to an odd year, after a season that will certainly go down in history.


The installation of the five Olympic rings in Tokyo © Alex Smith @mcghavan

  1. Lighting of the brazier: A peculiarity of this edition included an exceptional torchbearer for the lighting of the Olympic brazier: the oldest woman in the world, Kane Tanaka, 118 years old. To safeguard her health from possible Covid-19 infection, the elderly lady preferred not to participate.
  2. Addition of new disciplines: The new edition of the Olympics introduces five new disciplines to the competition: karate, sport climbing, surfing, skateboarding and men's baseball along with women's softball.
  3. The Olympic torch: The artist Tokujin Yoshioka renewed the design of the Olympic torch inspired by the national symbol of the cherry blossom, mixing rose gold with aluminum waste from the shelters built after the terrible earthquake of 2011.


A skater in Tokyo © Open

  1. An all-green podium: It is now well established that the organizers of Tokyo 2020/2021 wanted a strong ecological footprint compared to previous editions: the podiums were in fact made with 100% recycled plastic materials.
  2. Record for the marathon: Not having been able to prepare a road surface suitable for the high summer temperatures, the marathon will take place in Sapporo, therefore for the first time the arrival will not be scheduled in the local Olympic stadium.
  3. Non-participating states: The states that we will not see participate in the competition will be Russia, suspended for reasons of doping its athletes, and North Korea to limit the spread of Covid-19 infections.


The Ceremonies of the XXXII Olympic Games will take place without spectators © AlJazeera

  1. Second postponement in Tokyo: It is not the first time that the Olympics have been postponed in the Japanese capital: in 1940 they were postponed and then canceled due to the Second World War.
  2. Italian athletes: for this edition of the Olympics the Italian national team has reached its historic record in terms of athletes involved for their participation: 384 Italian athletes will be present.
  3. First transgender athlete in competition: With respect for an important series of parameters imposed by the IOC, the 43-year-old New Zealander Laurel Hubbard, specialized in weightlifting, will be the first transsexual athlete in competition in history.


A skyline of Tokyo, ready to host the 2020 Olympics © FIPAL

  1. Greater gender equality: Compared to the 2016 Rio Olympics, the percentage of women competing this year has increased significantly: female participation in Tokyo 2020 is more than 48%.
  2. Order of appearance during the opening ceremony: The nation that will host the next Olympics, i.e. France (in 2024), will parade in penultimate place, preceding the athletes of the host country. As usual, the first to appear will be Greece, the country where the Olympics originated.
  3. Why Tokyo 2020 again: The choice to keep the wording "Tokyo 2020" lies behind reasons that in some cases are simply linked to marketing: given the high cost that the organizers incurred for gadgets, merchandising and advertising, it was immediate to opt for the least expensive option.


The Tokyo 2020 logo, which has remained the same for 2021 ©

  1. Risk of cancellation: Before confirming the Olympics for 2021, cancellation requests were presented, but the International Olympic Committee in mutual agreement with the Japanese Prime Minister simply decided to postpone them so as not to shatter the Olympic dream.
  2. Period: The Summer Olympic Games will start on July 23rd and end on August 8th, however some disciplines such as men's baseball and women's softball will start a few hours earlier than the opening ceremony.

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