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New Zealand Olympians gathered at The Cloud with 100 days to go before Tokyo 2021. Video / Jed Bradley
The Olympics are nearly here, albeit one year later than planned.
After being postponed because of Covid-19, Japan is preparing for a second crack at the Games.
Here’s everything you need to know about the weirdest Olympics in history.
When and where are they taking place?
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, had hosting rights for the 2020 Games — which have rolled over into 2021 because of coronavirus.
Some other cities including Sapporo, Fukushima and Yokohama will be hosting select events like surfing, marathons and walking events. But the majority of the action will take place in Tokyo.
The opening ceremony is on July 23, with the closing ceremony to cap things off two weeks later on August 8.
However, some events — such as football, softball and baseball — kick off on July 21, before the opening ceremony.
What do we call the Tokyo Olympics?
It may be 2021 but officially these games will still be referred to as the 2020 Olympics.
All the branding that was designed with last year in mind will be used, and the medals will still say “Tokyo 2020”.
How will Covid-19 affect the Olympics?
These Olympics will obviously be different to any that have gone before.
Overseas spectators have been banned from attending and while specifics are yet to be finalised, there will no doubt be plenty of more restrictions in place to protect against the spread of Covid-19.
Athletes are not required to be vaccinated to enter Japan, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is encouraging them to get a jab anyway. They will be tested before leaving their home country, on arrival, and regularly throughout the duration of the event.
It’s been suggested athletes may be confined to their accommodation when not training or competing, to minimise the amount of movement and encourage social distancing.
They can’t use public transport or visit public places, and won’t be able to hang around after their event is over. Instead, they’ll need to clear out of the Olympic Village rather than stay and play tourist.
No details have been announced publicly when it comes to questions of venue capacity and crowd numbers. However, Tokyo 2020 Games delivery officer Hidemasa Nakamura said countermeasures would be based on the virus rule books unveiled by organisers earlier this year.
“We’re trying to limit contact, avoid handshakes and other physical contact, and keep distance between athletes — one metre if two isn’t possible,” he said.
Cheering will be banned and rooms and common spaces ventilated every 30 minutes.
How can I watch?
Sky TV will have Olympics coverage across 12 channels and streaming platforms, while TVNZ will feature 12 hours of free-to-air action each afternoon and evening, with breaks for evening news show.
What does the schedule look like?
The official Tokyo 2020 website is the place to go for a full rundown of what events are taking place when. Click here to check it out.
What do New Zealand’s uniforms look like?
The NZOC described the kit as: “The silver fern remains at the heart of the New Zealand Team uniform for Tokyo 2020. With the traditional black, the range also includes flashes of Pacific blue while New Zealand is written in katakana (Japanese script) on a number of items as a sign of respect to the host nation.
“With technical fabric designed for the heat and lighter colour options for those outside, the Olympic village and podium-wear will ensure the New Zealand Team is ready to compete on the world stage.”
Is Russia allowed to compete?
Russia copped a four-year ban in 2019 after being found guilty of widespread state-sponsored doping but that was halved last year on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Although the ruling banned Russia from sending an official delegation to the Tokyo Games, it was determined Russian athletes could still compete, but under a neutral banner.
The country’s flag and anthem won’t make appearances in Tokyo, but their athletes — who meet certain criteria — will compete as members of the ROC — Russian Olympic Committee.
The decision from CAS was widely slammed as a wet lettuce that didn’t go nearly far enough in punishing Russia for its shocking doping offences.
Are there any controversies with China?
China will be sending a delegation to Tokyo, while Beijing is preparing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
There has been speculation some countries would band together and encourage a boycott of those Games because of China’s alleged human rights abuses, but the US said recently it was not considering such a move.
Who is the Olympics mascot?
Say hello to Miraitowa, the cartoon-like creation covered in an indigo blue pattern whose name is based on the Japanese words “mirai”, meaning future, and “towa”, meaning eternity.
What does the logo look like?
The official logo for Tokyo 2020 is called the “Harmonised Chequered Emblem”, and was given the go-ahead before the Olympics were postponed because of coronavirus.
It looks like a jagged soccer ball with a hollow centre, with several sizes of triangle blended together to form a circle.
What temperatures can we expect in Tokyo?
We can expect plenty of heat and humidity by the time the opening ceremony takes place — but for most Australians, the conditions shouldn’t be too foreign.
Temperatures are expected to surge past 30C, but if the athletes have ever experienced a Melbourne heatwave or trip to far-north Queensland, then it shouldn’t be too confronting.
New sports making their Olympic debuts
This year will see the introduction of a number of new sports at the Olympics: skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing.
Skateboarding will feature street and park disciplines — the former featuring a street course with additions including rails and ramps, and the latter seeing competitors bust out big airs in a bowl.
Sport climbing — what you’ll recognise essentially as rock climbing — will comprise of lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing. Competitors will earn points across each discipline, and those who finish with the three highest totals will win medals.
Surfing will be held outside Tokyo at Shidashita beach on the east coast of Japan.
Fresh twists have also been added to existing sports. Basketball will now feature a three-on-three competition, as well as the standard five-on-five, while BMX freestyle has been added to the usual BMX racing, and will see cyclists perform tricks.
Full list of Olympic sports
Artistic gymnastics, artistic (synchronised) swimming, archery, badminton, baseball and softball, basketball, three-on-three basketball, beach volleyball, BMX freestyle, BMX racing, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, karate, mountain biking, pentathlon, rhythmic gymnastics, road cycling, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, skateboarding, sport (rock) climbing, surfing, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, track cycling, trampoline gymnastics, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.
Where are the next Olympics?
Paris is hosting the 2024 Olympics, before they head to Los Angeles in 2028.
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