Olympic Roundup: Official Tokyo Financials Released; ‘No Money’ for 2026 Games

SwimSwam will periodically update you on the biggest news around the Olympic and Paralympic world, outside of aquatic sports. Read on to learn about the official financial details of last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, worries about funding the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan/Cortina, and the Union Cycliste International stiffening its policy regarding the participation of transgender women.

The final meeting of the Tokyo Organizing Committee on Tuesday officially revealed the financial details of last summer’s competition, the only Olympic Games ever to be postponed. 

At about $10.4 billion, the final cost proved to be nearly double the estimated budget of the initial bid in 2013. But it was also way cheaper than the more recent estimate of $15.4 billion in December of 2020, which was intended to factor in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Tokyo organizers raked in the majority of their revenues from $3.4 billion worth of domestic sponsorships, an all-time record. They also got $1.3 billion from the IOC, $500 million from insurance related to the COVID-19 delay, and $600 million from licensing and other revenues. Officials costs stemming from the pandemic amounted to about $278 million.  

The Tokyo organizers were responsible for about 45% of the total costs while the Tokyo Metropolitan Government covered about 42% of the costs, including stadium renovations. The Japanese national government also paid for nearly 8% of the budget.  

Not one Olympics in the past 60 years has stayed on budget. Recently, the 2012 London Games budgeted $5 billion only to end up spending $18 billion, the 2014 Winter Games budgeted $10.3 billion but spent more than $51 billion, and the 2016 Summer Games exceeded their $14 billion budget by spending $20 billion. 

Milan Cortina 2026 organizing committee under fire

In a letter sent to Italian prime minister Mario Draghi published by the Rome newspaper Il Fatto Quotidano this week, regional governments complained about the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympic organizing committee’s lack of progress over the past two years. 

“There is no money for the Olympics,” the letter said. “Dear Prime Minister, there are four years left and we are worried.”

The Milan Cortina 2026 Foundation, ran by former telecommunications executive Vincenzo Novari, recently reported a loss for the second year in a row, this time to the tune of about $22 million. Government officials from the Lombardy and Veneto regions, the cities of Milan and Cortina, and the provinces of Trento and Bolzano expressed concern that nothing has been done about the troubling trajectory. 

Sponsorships are supposed to account for 35% of the total budget, but no deals have reportedly been signed yet. In a recent interview, Novari said there are ongoing discussions regarding sponsorships totaling about one-fifth of their target figures. 

The International Olympic Committee is supporting the 2026 Games with $652 million in cash, which expects to cover about 39% of the projected costs. Without a turnaround on the sponsorship front, though, the Milan Cortina organizing committee is going to face an uphill battle over the next two years. 

UCI tightens trans eligibility policy

A few days before FINA restricted transgender women from elite competition, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) made a similar change in its eligibility policy. 

Like FINA, the UCI lowered the maximum permitted plasma testosterone levels from 5 nmol/L to 2.5 nmol/mL, a value they claimed was the maximum for 99.99% of the female population. But the UCI doubled the transition period on low testosterone from one to two years instead of FINA’s ban on transgender women who have gone through any part of puberty. 

The UCI said that recent scientific studies have shown that “the awaited adaptations in muscle mass and muscle strength/power” among athletes who are transitioning from male to female take at least two years.

On Sunday, FINA approved a new policy that requires transgender women to transition before age 12 (or before Tanner Stage 2 development, whichever comes later) in order to be eligible. The governing body also announced it was looking into adding an “open” category for transgender women who don’t meet those standards, the details of which are expected in the next six months. 

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5 months ago

Call the billionaires. Mr. Buffett ? Mr. Gates? Mr. Musk? Time to step up. Pocket change to you. And a far more worthy cause than much of the other stuff you toss money at. Underwrite excellence, not mediocrity.

Reply to  RCP
5 months ago

I think all three above would insist on a level of control and accountability for their money that the IOC would be unwilling to agree to.

5 months ago

How did Sochi go 400% over budget? Probably just normal infrastructure improvements I presume

Reply to  PhillyMark
5 months ago

Massive kickbacks

5 months ago

I am baffled as to why any country would bid for future games at this point, summer or winter.
That includes the U.S.
The lowball costs estimates always blow up as described above and the long run benefits are disputable at best.

Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
5 months ago

It’s not that it costs a lot, it’s just that the organisers are morons who bid for the games with no infrastructure

Reply to  Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
5 months ago

The LA28 and Brisbane32 Games are trying to change that- they both have most the venues, and a 10 year time frame to get ready. I think they will both end up relatively cheap and successful (the LA84, Atlanta and Sydney Games are by far the cheapest per event Games in history. The US and AUS can get these things done).

Steve Nolan
Reply to  torchbearer
5 months ago

Eh, idk if the US can do anything cheaply anymore lol. But if anywhere has the infrastructure to do so, it’s LA.

That Tokyo was also cheaper than Rio is an encouraging sign.

Reply to  Jacob Whittle 46.90 in Paris
5 months ago

A lot of the money is probably stolen as well.

Didn’t the 1984 LA Olympics make a profit?

Irish Ringer
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
5 months ago

I think the organizers go to the same budgeting school as the US policiticians.

Reply to  BearlyBreathing
5 months ago

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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