Written by Uthara Menon, a grade 3 student.
The 2020 Summer Olympics, also known as Tokyo 2020, officially kicked off with the torch relay starting on the 25th of March. They are being held in Japan.
The Olympics is a major international multi-sport event that occurs once in four years. Sadly, these could not be held last year (2020) due to the pandemic. Tokyo is thus hosting the 2020 Olympics this year, starting on the 23rd of July and ending on the 8th of August, 2021.
Tokyo was chosen as host during the 125th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session that was held in Buenos Aires Argentina on 7th September 2013.
Japan will be the first country in Asia to host the Olympics twice.
Have they been cancelled before?
Since the start of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, they have been cancelled three times – once during World War I (1916) and twice during World War II (1940, 1944).
Last year was the first time the Olympics were postponed rather than being cancelled.
The Olympic Torch Relay
The Olympic fire is lit a few months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. This is done at the Temple of Hira at Olympia, Greece – the site of the ancient Olympics. The Olympic Torch is lit by the light of the Sun.
It is then taken to the site of an Olympic Games. This was first done at the 1936 Summer Olympics, whihc were held in Berlin, Germany. It has taken place for each of the Games since then.
The fire lighting of the Olympic flame is based on the belief of the ancient Greeks, who considered fire to be sacred.
The Olympic flame signifies positivity and purity – this serves as a kind of a link between the ancient and the modern Games.
The slogan of the 2020 (2021) Summer Olympics torch relay is “Hope Lights Our Way”.
The Torch Relay for Tokyo 2020 began with the lighting of the Olympic flame by the rays of the Sun in Olympia, Greece, on 12 March 2020. After this, it was brought to Japan by a special plane called ” Tokyo 2020 Go”. The relay in Japan then started on Thursday 25 March 2021.
The Olympic torch was designed by Tokujin Yoshioka. The design is inspired by cherry blossoms, with 5 petal-shaped columns around the tip of the torch, and a rose-gold “sakura gold” color finish. Its creation includes aluminum recycled from unused shelters deployed in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
History of the torch relay
The Olympic torch relay is a modern event. While the flame was lit in ancient times as well, there was no relay in the ancient Games.
It was designed by Carl Diem, who was the chief organizer of the Berlin Summer Olympics of 1936.
Olympic Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony is the official opening of the event which includes dance singing and fireworks. This will take place on the 23rd of July 2021.
Covid measures to be taken
In February 2021, the IOC began releasing “playbooks” containing details on planned COVID-19 safety measures for athletes, officials, the press, and other crewmates, including standard measures such as practicing social distancing, hygiene, the wearing of face masks (outside of training and competition for athletes), and being prohibited from visiting bars, restaurants, shops, and other tourist areas, or using public transport unless permission is granted.
Participants will be asked to use Japan’s COCOA Exposure Notification app, and will be tested at least every four days.
Spectators from other countries will not be allowed
To be safe, all participants have to test negative before taking part in the game.
The closing ceremony marks the end of the Olympic games. The Olympic flame is put out, marking the end of the games. This year’s game ends on the 8th of August 2021.