Tokyo 2020 Round-Up: 10,000 Volunteers Pull Out Of Games

With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes around the world continue to prepare and qualify for the rescheduled Olympic Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on July 23rd, and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to begin August 24th.

10,000 Tokyo Volunteers Pull Out of Games

The Tokyo Organising Committee has confirmed that 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers registered for this Summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games have rescinded their positions.

The risk that the coronavirus pandemic poses is presumably a reason behind the mass quitting of volunteers, a theory confirmed by Toshiro Muto, CEO of the organising committee as he said:

“I think there is no doubt that one of the reasons is concern over coronavirus infections”

Another potential reason being reported is the recent resignation of former president of the organising committee, Yoshiro Mori. He resigned following a string of sexist comments he made which caused widespread outage across the world.

The organising committee insists that the remaining 70,000 volunteers will be enough to ensure a smoothly run Games can take place.

95% of Japan’s Olympic Athletes Will Be Vaccinated

The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has stated that 95% of their Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be vaccinated ahead of the commencement of the Games on July 23rd.

While the country’s rates of vaccination are relatively slow compared to other nations, JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita unveiled the plans last week and spoke confidently about their inoculation plans.

Roughly 600 athletes and 1,000 coaches and support staff will receive their doses from team doctors throughout the next number of weeks.

Yamashita also reiterated during the announcement that athletes should not feel guilty about receiving early inoculation as the measures are “not only to protect ourselves but also to not cause trouble to others.”

Olympic podia revealed in online ceremony

The awards ceremony podiums for this Summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games have been revealed in a virtual ceremony which marked 50 days until the Olympics kick-off.

Roughly 24.5 tonnes of plastic was collected and repurposed to create the 98 total podia which will be scattered across the competition venues in Tokyo in less than two months’ time.

The concept behind the design, which was created by artist Asao Tokolo, is said to represent the country’s push towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable society. Tokolo was also the creator of the Tokyo 2020 logo.

IOC Announces Refugee Team For Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced a 29-strong refugee team that who will compete across 12 sports.

The team will be competing under the Olympic flag and is almost triple the size of the inaugural refugee team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini is amongst the cohort of 29 and will be competing at her second Olympic Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said of the team: “I speak on behalf of the entire Olympic Movement when I say that we cannot wait to meet you in person and to see you compete in Tokyo. 

“It will send a powerful message of solidarity, resilience and hope to the world. You are an integral part of our Olympic community, and we welcome you with open arms.”

Equally, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has plans to send a team of six athletes to the Paralympiv Games which are due to begin on August 24th.

Doubt Over Mo Farah Olympic Appearance

Four-time Olympic gold medallist and British long-distance runner Mo Farah failed to reach Olympic qualification in the 10,000m event while racing at the European Cup.

Farah, who is Olympic champion in this event from both 2012 and 2016, missed the necessary mark by just over 22 seconds, but has said he remains confident he can retain his title as he was nursing an ankle injury at the time of the race.

He finished with a time of 27:50.54 which resulted in an eighth-place finish. He requires 27:28 in order to book his place to Tokyo and has until June 27th to do it.

Following the race, he said: “I’m disappointed with the result. The last 10 days hasn’t been great but no matter what I achieve in my career it’s important I come out and show at the trials.

“It would have been easy not to show. I dug in deep and with 15 laps to go, you know my face, I was hurting hard. I had to keep fighting and digging in.

“What makes us great is being able to challenge yourself and prove it. So that is what you have got to do as the next stage.”

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1 year ago

Any major event this size will have a few thousand volunteers who change their mind just before it all begins/ or who just don’t turn up…. I am sure they have extra numbers to cover this…..

1 year ago

A lot of the volunteers are there for crowd control etc so if there’s not going to be spectators then I understand that some volunteers may not be required

1 year ago

Thats a lot of Tennesseans pulling out

Chigasaki open water
1 year ago

Tokyo 2021 round up…. From someone living in Tokyo. Here’s your weekly minute:

Last Tuesday went to Costco at Tamasakai. We took the keio line from Kichijoji. Train had no social distancing and was crowded on the return trip. Everyone except children had masks on. They get a pass here. Inside Costco, food line spacing marks on the ground were being observed, while standing, as we waited for pizza and hot dogs. Also, no tables to eat at inside. All had been removed. So, people walked out the exit and sat around eating, simply shifting the crowd.

In Chigasaki now (sagami bay, “shonan”) for some beach rides and runs. Major safety issues on the Tokaido line coming out. Very crowded… Read more »

Chigasaki open water
Reply to  Chigasaki open water
1 year ago

Just back from cycling along the coast. Hit Enoshima, Kamakura, and zushi beaches. Every summer a make shift row of bars is erected on these beaches. People get smashed, do drunk things. In 2020, these were banned. Today, during a Tokyo (and kanagawa) state of emergency, I just rode by these booze beach cities being erected. Yes, drunk unvaccinated covid carriers will ditch their masks to mingle. Japan thinks this is a good idea.

But vaccinated, neg. tested foreigners!!

Reply to  Chigasaki open water
1 year ago

Not all unvaccinated people are Covid carriers .. stop the fear mongering.. it’s truly not funny and quite offensive to some

Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

Found the anti-vaxxer.

Reply to  Stewie
1 year ago

Fun fact : I’m already vaccinated .. feeling stupid ??

Reply to  Chigasaki open water
1 year ago

I live in Tokyo. Please do not generalize. We are abiding by social distancing, children do wear masks. You are painting an inaccurate picture. Yes the vaccination process is ridiculously slow. Folks are still working from home.

You Don’t Say
Reply to  Chigasaki open water
1 year ago

Brought to you by “Gold Medal Snitch”

1 year ago

I’m confused: Have the Japanese not been getting vaccinated? That would be very UN-Japanese.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Armchair
1 year ago

They are turning Japanese. I really think so .

1 year ago

Can we please have some positive headlines about the upcoming Olympics ? To build some semblance of excitement .. so far anything related to Tokyo headlines have been cancellations and pulling outs .. positive vibes guys !!

1 year ago


Reply to  jjswims
1 year ago

Podia is the proper pluralization of podium, though often “podiums” is used as well.