How did Tokyo become the host of the Olympics?

Abigail Dove
Story by Abigail Dove and CBC Kids News • 2021-06-21 07:30

Tokyo first hosted more than 50 years ago


There is less than a month to go before the Summer Olympics that will take place in Tokyo, Japan!

Tokyo was going to host the Olympics last year, but COVID-19 had other plans and the event had to be postponed.

Fear not though, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were moved to this July and, as of now, the plan is for the Games to go ahead!

Tokyo actually hosted the Olympics back in 1964, so they have experience in hosting the Games.

What goes into a city being an Olympic host?

An aerial shot of a crowd of people forming the words

People spell out the words ‘thank you’ at the Tokyo metropolitan government building on Sept. 8, 2013, after Tokyo won its bid to be the host city of the 2020 Olympic Games. (Image credit: Getty Images)

How do you become an Olympic host city?

It was back in 2013 that Tokyo was named host for the 2020 Olympic Games. Normally the cities are chosen seven years ahead.

The process for being selected as the host city for an Olympic Games is highly competitive.

Major cities from around the world will make bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A bid is basically a plan outlining why they want to host the event and how they plan to pull it off.

A large construction site with cranes, tarps, and scaffolding.

Construction on the Ariake Arena, which will host volleyball for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Image credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)

This includes details about finances, venues, transportation, security, environmental effects and more.

An eligible city needs to make sure it can accommodate large numbers of athletes, fans and journalists.

Then each city goes through an audit or an “inspection” to make sure they have what it takes to hold such a complex event. This takes 10 months!

If they pass the first set of requirements, they become considered a candidate city.

Mascot snapshot: Swipe through Olympic history

After presenting their bids, along with a $150,000 fee, the IOC members vote to choose the winning city.

The chosen city will then start construction on all sorts of things, including facilities.

How much does it cost to host the Olympics?

When Japan made its bid, organizers said the Games would cost around $7 billion US.

Japan has already spent more than $15 billion US.

Why would any city spend that kind of money on a 16-day event?

Although it is a hefty investment, cities around the world spend all this money with the hopes of getting most of it back.

They also hope to see a boost to their economy through things such as marketing, tourism and job creation.

Tokyo Olympics: The second time around

When Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964, there were 5,151 athletes who competed in the Games.

Compare that to the 11,091 athletes expected this time around almost 60 years later.

An old black and white photo of a Japanese torch bearer holding up his torch after lighting the Olympic flame.

Japanese Olympic torch runner Yoshinori Sakai after lighting the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Image credit: Getty Images)

The 1964 Olympics were also the first Games to be broadcast live via satellite around the world.

It was a turning point for Japan and athletics.

Japan won 16 gold medals, five silver and eight bronze, which was Japan’s highest Olympic medal count up to that point. This put them third in the overall medal total that year.

Not much longer until we can see Japan, Canada and all the other competing countries fight for their spot at the top of the podium.

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Charly Triballeau/Getty Images, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC
With files from The Associated Press, CBC Sports

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About the Contributor

Abigail Dove
Abigail Dove
CBC Kids News Contributor
Abigail Dove, a Grade 11 student, loves all things sports. She’s a competitive golfer and hockey player who aspires to be a sports broadcaster. Abigail has written for Sports Illustrated Kids, done some online reporting for Golf Canada and was the rinkside reporter for the Toronto Maple Leafs "Next Generation" games.

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