As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, the consequences it brings have become increasingly apparent; we face a “new normality” full of paradigm shifts and challenges to society. A clear example of this is the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were one of the primary victims of the social distancing measures imposed on any meeting or cultural event and that, once they were celebrated, we could observe a series of trends that confirmed that this type of event would never be the same. This article seeks to capture some of the most exciting trends observed.
Talking about numbers
It is worth mentioning that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games lost their commercial value because there was not enough public, and it was held in a city surge in a state of emergency due to the health crisis. According to Robert Baade, professor of Economics at Lake Forest University in the United States, “The losses are enormous”, since sustaining an event of such magnitude for a nation is a considerable investment not to be profitable and leave a millionaire debt and infrastructure works completely useless.
Authorities say the postponement added $2,800 million to the final total. The delay and subsequent ban on the existence of spectators also basically eliminated all ticket marketing profits, which were estimated at 800 million.
Greater diversity and inclusion than ever before
Under the slogan “Know the differences, show the differences”, Tokyo 2020 positioned diversity and inclusion as an essential element to achieve the vision of the event and its success during the development of the Games. To demonstrate this, it is enough to highlight that 49% of the participants were women; the youngest medalist is only 13 years old, and the longest-lived athlete is 66 years old; the inclusion of transgender athletes in various disciplines is already a reality; the participation of athletes in any sport regardless of race or skin color is something pervasive.
The above shows that we are in a new reality, in which, fortunately, discriminatory practices were forgotten (for most cases). Currently, athletes can be recognized internationally regardless of their race, skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other possible distinctive.
What about the medals?
For the third time in a row, the United States was the country that finished at the top of the medal table ahead of China by achieving a gold medal more than the Asian; 94 different countries earned at least one award, a number higher than in any other edition. In this event, three countries won the first medal in their history, and three others won the first gold medal. In other words, the winners remained the same, with the top 25 countries concentrating 75% of the awards. Can we talk about hegemony at the Olympic Games medal table?
Let’s talk about global warming
COVID-19 was not the only concern of the organizers and athletes at Tokyo 2021, here were also presented the climatological worries about the heat and humidity of Japan, where temperatures have the possibility of exceeding 35° Celsius (95° F), all participants had to deal with the extremes derived from global warming.
“Tokyo 2020 will serve as a model for future hotter Olympics and other summer sports competitions”, said Yuri Hosokawa, a sports and heat risk expert at Japan’s Host university. Tokyo’s average annual temperature has risen by 2.86°C since 1900, about three times faster than the global average of 0.96°C, says the British Association for Sustainable Sport.
In the 2020 edition of the Olympic Games, a pleasant surprise was Artificial Intelligence (AI). The clearest example lies in the Deep Learning models directed towards the facial recognition of athletes and service personnel in the income of the facilities.
On the other hand, the robotization process has been constantly amplified. In the Tokyo Olympics, some robots solve doubts, help transport athletes, and provide a translation mechanism. The Olympic Games demonstrate the relevance of having a data analysis tool based on an AI system.
The Tokyo Olympics, despite being criticized for its mercantilism for its realization and although they had to be held 12 months later, at the end of the day, leaves the message clear and forceful “the life goes on.” This edition has been one of the most innovative in history and undoubtedly brought a positive reform to the world based on three fundamental concepts: giving the best of oneself (reaching the best personal version), accepting each other (unity in diversity), and transmitting the legacy for the future (connecting with tomorrow).
BBC News World, Tokyo: why the Olympics will leave “huge” economic losses for Japan, August 2021, in: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/deportes-57948609
Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Diversity, and Inclusion (D&I), 2021, in: https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/es/games/diversity-inclusion/
ESPN, Tokyo 2020 Olympics were the most expensive in history, August 2021, in: https://www.espn.com.mx/olimpicos/nota/_/id/9022140/tokio-2020-juegos-olimpicos-mas-costosos-historia-millones-dolares
OECD, COVID-19 and the future of Global Events, August 2021, in: https://www.oecd.org/local-forum/workshops/covid-19-and-the-future-of-global-events.htm
Victor Matheson And Rob Baade, Rescuing The Olympic Games From Their Own Success, July 2021 in: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2021/07/rescuing-the-tokyo-olympics-baade-matheson.htm
WEF, How can the Olympics respond to future climate change effects?, August 2021, in: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/08/in-fast-warming-world-tokyo-is-barometer-for-future-olympics/