From best prepared event to possibly postponed one?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 00:00 |
A man sits at a bus stop in front of an advertisement for the Tokyo Olympics. Photo/AFP

Tokyo, Monday

Olympic officials regularly lauded Tokyo as the best prepared host city they had seen. 

But no one could have planned for the coronavirus pandemic that may now force a postponement of the 2020 Games.

And while organisers won praise, a plagiarism scandal, corruption charges and budget woes all clouded the horizon even before the virus outbreak threatened the Games.

Here, AFP Sport chronicles the path to what could be the first postponement in Olympic history.

2013: Tears of joy 

TV news presenters burst into tears and thousands of people erupt in screams of delight as the IOC awards the Games to Tokyo in September 2013.

With emotions running high, the thoughts of many Japanese turn to the thousands of victims of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, with the Olympics seen by some as a golden opportunity to rebuild.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows Tokyo will be a “safe pair of hands” with a reputation for efficiency and competence.

2015: Stadium scrapped 

Embarrassment for Abe as he is forced to tear up blueprints for the proposed national stadium when costs balloon out of control.

2015: Logo dropped 

Scandal follows in September 2015 as the logo for the Games is ditched after accusations of plagiarism.

2018: Cute mascots 

After the logo disaster, there is relief at the smooth rollout of futuristic mascots for the Olympics and Paralympics, chosen by schoolchildren.

2018: Boxing blues 

In an precedented move, the International Olympic Committee strips troubled governing body AIBA of the right to run the boxing competition at the Games over various allegations.

2019: French charges 

French investigating magistrates in January 2019 charge the former head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, as they probe two payments totalling $2.3 million made before and after the Japanese capital was chosen.

2019: Marathon move 

After warnings against holding the marathon in the middle of Tokyo’s sweltering summer, the IOC springs a surprise in October 2019 by shifting the flagship race to Sapporo, 800 kilometres to the north, and usually cooler in August.

2019: Budget blowout 

Organisers unveil the final version of their budget in December, with the Games expected to cost $12.6 billion, although Tokyo 2020 and the IOC are still wrangling over the cost of moving the marathon.

2019: Russian ban 

Russia’s participation in the Games is thrown into question in December, when anti-doping agency WADA bans the country’s athletes for four years from global events including the Olympics over manipulated doping data.  -AFP

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