As surprising as it may sound to some (a lot) of us, the 2020 Olympic Games are still set to go ahead. Despite the roadblocks COVID-19 has presented, Tokyo will host the Games and athletes are preparing to make their way over to compete.
Now, being one of the most complicated iterations of the Olympic Games in modern history, there are a lot of questions being asked right now. We’ll do our best to answer some of those for you here.
Here’s your guide to the 2020 Olympic Games.
When is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
The event is set to kick off on July 23 and will run through to August 8, 2021.
The Tokyo 2020 official website has a full schedule listed out according to event, so if you’re keen to mark your calendar with your favourites, you can get started on that here.
To help out, however, we’ve listed a few of the more popular sports below.
Athletics — featuring 48 events from sprints and distance running, to high jump and hurdles — will be held at the Olympic Stadium and Sapporo Odori Park between July 30 and August 8, 2021. Read more on that here.
Gymnastics is another Olympic sport that gets a lot of attention. It features disciplines like artistic gymnastics (the balance beam and bars), rhythmic gymnastics (the hoop and ribbon) and trampolining. These events are set to be held at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre from July 30 to August 3. Details here.
Swimming is probably the biggest sport in the competition, featuring disciplines like freestyle, backstroke, and relay events. In Tokyo, you’ll find the swimming events at Tokyo Aquatics Centre and Odaiba Marine Park from July 24 through to August 5. More here.
How can I watch the Olympics in Australia?
Channel 7 is the home of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, so you can catch all the action on your telly at home or via 7plus.
There’s already a bunch of content to check out on the 7plus Olympic website so take a peek here.
Which Aussie athletes are competing?
There are 472 Australian athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. You can check out the complete lineup here.
According to reports from News.com.au, here are some of the Aussie medal favourites to keep an eye on: Ariarne Titmus (swimmer), Jess Fox (canoeist), Rohan Dennis (cyclist), Kaylee McKeown (swimmer), Kookaburras (men’s hockey team), Sally Fitzgibbons (surfer), Stewart McSweyn (runner), Sam Kerr and the Matildas (football team), Liz Cambage and the Opals (basketball team), Rohan Browning (runner), and Ash Barty (tennis).
Patty Mills and Cate Campbell have been named Australia’s flag bearers for the Tokyo Olympics. Mills, a pro basketballer, will be the first Indigenous man to do so.
Is there anything else I should know?
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, first with the decision to push forward despite the impact of the pandemic, and now more recently with folks threatening to boycott the event due to accusations of racism.
Liz Cambage threatened to back out of the Olympics after criticising the Olympic promo shoots for a lack of diversity. As Yahoo reports, Australia’s Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman told AAP: “It’s important that athletes feel free to speak about issues close to their heart. We fully support that. It’s not something we, as an Olympic movement, want to silence.”
Cambage has since confirmed she will compete.
Additionally, The United States Anti-Doping Agency has received harsh criticism for suspending US track star Sha’Carri Richardson for one month after testing positive for marijuana. As the New York Times has reported, Richardson says she had used marijuana as a way to cope with the death of her biological mother.
Her month-long suspension began on June 28, 2021.
The international swimming federation has also come into hot water after banning swimming caps designed for Black hair because they don’t fit “the natural form of the head”. Whatever that means.
Huffington Post reports that FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) gave a statement sharing that athletes have never before needed “caps of such size and configuration”. After receiving widespread criticism, however, the body agreed to review their decision.
FINA shared it was “committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage. FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to ‘Soul Cap’ and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation.”
There has also been talk of Black Lives Matter apparel being banned from the event, which is not strictly untrue. Reuters reports, however, that all political demonstrations are banned from the Olympics.
The outlet shares that Olympic guidelines do not permit “demonstration or political, religious, or racial propaganda in Olympic venues”. This ruling has long attracted criticism for inhibiting athletes’ ability to protest.
In more positive news, however, the Aussie Olympic team has broken records with the highest number of women competing, at 254, and the highest number of Indigenous athletes (16) ever competing at the Games.
We’ll continue to update you on all the latest news from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, so keep an eye out!
This article has been updated since its original publish date.