Tokyo Enters Final Stretch in Olympic Preparations

(ATR) - Venue construction is underway, the torch relay has a route, and volunteers are being recruited. 

(ATR) -Venue construction is underway, the torch relay has a route, and volunteers are being recruited.

Less than two years before the opening ceremony, Tokyo 2020 is into the home stretch of Olympic preparations.

Organizers spent the summer celebrating the two years to go thresholds, with separate events for the Olympic and Paralympic milestones.

Tokyo welcomed the IOC Coordination Commission in July amid a record breaking heat wave, one of the major concerns of hosting an event in Japan’s sweltering summer. CoComm leaders returned in September for a project review, as part of regular check-ins with organizers.

Preparedness is Everything

Two disasters within three months of each other hit Japan before the IOC’s arrival --- floods ravaged Western Japan in late June, while a Typhoon hit Japan’s main island in September. Both disasters have reminded the IOC and Tokyo 2020 that extra preparedness needs to be on everyone’s minds during preparations.

"What happened last week and what happened in Osaka certainly have hit home to me, and I know the organizing committee, about the further complexity of planning these Games, because they have to be prepared," John Coates, CoComm chair said to reporters following the September project review.

"It’s something the organizing committee is impressing on their staff and taking into account in planning."

Japan is no stranger to natural disasters. The Tohoku region, which was decimated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, will play a large part in the Tokyo 2020 Games. Fukushima will host the opening matches of the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments, and will be the start of the torch relay.

Torch Relay

The Olympic Flame will arrive in Japan on March 20 after being handed over in Athens the day before. The IOC said the flame will be lit on March 12, the day after the anniversary of the 2011 earthquake.

After arriving, the flame will be displayed for six days, spending time in the three prefectures affected by the 2011 disaster. In Fukushima on March 26 the torch relay will begin in earnest.

Venues Report

Before the excitement of the Olympic flame, Tokyo must finish building some of its venues.

Organizers say all are on schedule, despite delays with the aquatics center, which has a new completion date of Feb. 2020. That should give organizers enough time to schedule a test event well before the Games.

Apply Here

Volunteer recruitment began at the end of September, with Tokyo 2020 saying they need 80,000 people to help stage the Games. The city of Tokyo will recruit an additional 30,000 volunteers to help around the city.

"The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is hosting the Tokyo Marathon, where volunteers are tens of thousands. For the Olympics, 30,000 urban volunteers are needed, and these people can be its volunteers, too," Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, told Around the Rings when asked if there is any concern about recruiting so many volunteers.

"I think that there is no problem."

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Written by Aaron Bauer

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