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

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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.

Dec 3, 2020 - Sports

Tokyo Olympics weighs health tracking app in order to allow fan attendance

Photo: Ahmet Furkan Mercan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tokyo Olympic officials have discussed using a health tracking app as a measure that could allow fans from abroad to attend the Games next summer, AP reports.

The big picture: The cost of these Games, already bloated compared to the original estimate from 2013's successful bid, has reportedly increased by ~$2-3 billion due to the one-year delay.

Sep 9, 2020 - Sports

Human rights groups call on IOC to revoke 2022 Beijing Olympics

A sign for Beijing's bid for the Winter Olympics logo. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

More than 160 human rights groups called on the International Olympic Committee to revoke China's award of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games over the country's human rights abuses, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The letter represents "the largest coordinated effort" yet against staging the Beijing games, coming amid heightened scrutiny of China's mass detention and repression of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities, according to Reuters.

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