Sporting extravaganza on the cards as Tokyo stages Summer Olympics
The eyes of the world will be on Tokyo this summer as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad take place from July 24 to August 9.
Japan previously hosted the Summer Olympics back in 1964, meaning it will become the first Asian country to stage the event twice.
This year’s event will be huge, with more than 11,000 athletes from over 200 nations expected to compete in Tokyo across 33 different sports.
Although there have been growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus, organizers remain confident that the Games will go ahead as scheduled.
This is despite many other sporting events and large gatherings being shut down in Japan at the moment due to the outbreak.
Virologists have claimed that the Olympics could be postponed or even cancelled, with the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus increasing on a daily basis.
However, organizers have successfully staged a test event in one of the climbing disciplines and have said that the Games will definitely start on time. Read on as we take a closer look at Tokyo 2020.
‘Cool’ sports added to the Olympic line-up
Surfing and skateboarding have been added to the Games line-up in 2020, highlighting the Olympic committee’s growing desire to try and move with the times.
Tsurigasaki Beach will attract some of surfing’s top stars, with the likes of John John Florence and Gabriel Medina likely to be battling for gold in the men’s competition.
Skateboarding will also make its debut as the organizers try to make the Games more attractive to a generation of people brought up on online slot games, social media and celebrity culture.
Sport climbing is another welcome addition to the roster, while karate will make a one-off appearance before being dropped for breakdancing at Paris 2024.
However, the highlight of the new sports is expected to be baseball, with the hosts amongst the favourites to claim the gold medal.
Japan won World Baseball Classic titles back in 2006 and 2009 and will be eager to topple the United States this summer.
Great Britain confident of big medal haul
Team GB defied expectations at the 2016 Games in Rio, winning 27 gold medals to finish second in the final standings.
They also claimed 23 silver and 17 bronze to top their London 2012 achievements and team bosses are confident of doing even better in Japan.
Laura Kenny, Adam Peaty and Dina Asher-Smith are amongst their strongest medal hopes this time around, although overall expectations may have been set a little too high.
Research has shown that British athletes have been performing better at world level than their 2016 counterparts, but the competition will undoubtedly be ramped up this summer.
Japan will be eager to make their mark on home soil, while China are expected to bounce back after what they felt was a disappointing medal return in Rio.
Anything above 50 medals would be a decent return for Team GB in what is likely to be one of the most competitive Games in history.
Coleman out to step into Bolt’s shoes
Christian Coleman has been widely tipped to step into Usain Bolt’s running shoes and claim the prestigious men’s 100 meters title this summer.
He won gold at the World Championships back in September, clocking a time of 9.76 seconds to become the sixth-fastest man in history.
Coleman has been on an upward curve over the past few years and appears to be the most natural successor to the Jamaican legend.
Fellow American Simone Biles will also be worth watching as she tries to retain her Olympic all-round gymnastics title.
Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene could be another big story this summer, especially if she ends up competing as a neutral athlete.
The three-time world champion was a big favourite to win in Rio, but Russia’s ban meant she missed out and has left her with a point to prove in Tokyo.
Officials confident that coronavirus won’t impact the Games
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says that ‘Tokyo 2020 remains on track’ despite the recent outbreak of coronavirus.
Following discussions with IOC officials, organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said: “I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the Games.”
The economic impact of a delay to the Games could be hugely catastrophic, particularly with regards to lucrative broadcasting deals.
Nearly three-quarters of the revenue generated by the Games comes from broadcasting rights and these could be severely impacted if the event has to be rescheduled.
Organisers will be eager to ensure that there are no clashes with other major sports such as the NFL and NBA, meaning that it would take a severe escalation of coronavirus cases for the situation to change.