2021 Olympics

The big picture

The Tokyo Olympics look set to go ahead with fans

The IOC's president is "very confident" about the prospect.

Nov 18, 2020 - Sports
Tokyo Olympics postponement puts athletes' livelihoods at risk

With seasons and events canceled, they're unable to earn appearance fees, prize money and performance bonuses.

Jun 19, 2020 - Sports
U.S. Olympians brace for $200 million cash crunch

The media rights fees likely won't come until next year.

Apr 9, 2020 - Sports
Athletes who qualified for Tokyo Olympics to keep their spots in 2021

57% of the total athlete quota spots have already been assigned, per the International Olympic Committee.

Apr 7, 2020 - Sports

All 2021 Olympics stories

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
May 6, 2021 - Sports

Laurel Hubbard to become first transgender athlete to compete in Olympics

Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is set to become the first transgender Olympian after qualifying for this summer's Tokyo Games.

The state of play: Hubbard, 43, has effectively been guaranteed a spot in the women's super heavyweight category after the IOC amended qualifying rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Apr 26, 2021 - Sports

Japan declares COVID emergency with less than 100 days until Olympics

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

With 88 days until the Tokyo Olympics, a "fourth wave" of the pandemic has hit Japan.

Driving the news: Bars, department stores and theaters across Japan will remain closed for 17 days, after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three other prefectures.

Apr 21, 2021 - Sports

Taking a knee, other protests still banned at Tokyo Olympics

A shadow is cast as the sun sets behind the Olympic Rings on April 21 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: by Carl Court/Getty Images

Athletes who take a knee or demonstrate with other forms of protest during the Tokyo Olympics this summer will be punished under a ban endorsed by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.

The state of play: The announcement backing the protection of neutrality for the Olympic Games comes one day after the world watched a Minneapolis jury convict a former police officer of murdering George Floyd, a Black man. The incident last summer sparked global demonstrations for racial justice.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

China warns of "robust" response if U.S. boycotts Beijing Olympics

A sculpture depicts Olympic figure skaters for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at Shougang Park on Dec. 16, 2020 in Beijing, China. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The Chinese government on Wednesday warned the U.S. that it would respond strongly if Washington boycott's next year's Winter Olympics set to be held in Beijing, AP reports.

Driving the news: The message comes after a State Department spokesman said at a briefing Tuesday that a joint boycott by the U.S. and its allies "is something that we certainly wish to discuss," in response to a question about how to punish China for what observers have described as a genocide against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

Mar 20, 2021 - World

Overseas spectators banned from Tokyo Olympics over COVID fears

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spectators from overseas will not be permitted to attend the Summer Olymipics in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee and local organizers announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The decision highlights "the realities of COVID-19 even as [the organizers] forged ahead with plans to hold the world’s largest sporting event," the New York Times writes.

Mar 16, 2021 - Sports

“Grand start” Olympics to kick off next week

Greek singer Sakis Rouvas holds the torch of the Tokyo Olympic Games during a 2020 presentation of the torch relay in Athens. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

The Olympic torch relay kicks off next week at a spectator-free "Grand Start" in Japan, with organizers hoping to avoid a cancellation after last year's delay.

The big picture: The Tokyo Olympics start in four months, and there's considerable opposition to the Games in Japan, AP reports.

Mar 11, 2021 - Sports

International Olympic Committee to buy COVID vaccines from China for athletes

Photo: James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee will purchase coronavirus vaccines from China for all Olympic and Paralympic competitors ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Games and next year’s Beijing Winter Games, the organization's president announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The move aims to reassure the public that this summer's Games will not result in a super-spreader event. Polling in Japan is strongly leaning against holding this year's Olympics.

The growing nexus between the Olympics and authoritarian states

Data: Council on Foreign Relations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The cost of hosting the Olympics has skyrocketed in recent decades, outpacing revenues from visitors and saddling cities with heavy maintenance burdens. As a result, residents of potential host cities have increasingly resisted their government's bids to host the games.

Why it matters: Authoritarian countries eager for global approbation can ignore local opposition, making hosting the Olympics increasingly the terrain of autocratic regimes.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Jan 22, 2021 - Sports

2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

10 months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Now, less than six months ahead of their new start date, the dreaded word is being murmured: "canceled."

Driving the news: The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Games will have to be called off, The Times reports (subscription), citing an unnamed senior government source.

U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to permit athlete participation in racial justice protests

Photo: Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee on Thursday said it will no longer prohibit athletes from "peacefully and respectfully demonstrating in support of racial and social justice for all human beings."

Why it matters: The committee in January said that "[n]o kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." Athletes were still allowed to demonstrate or protest at press conferences, in interviews, at team meetings, and on digital and traditional media platforms.

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