The return of the Olympic Games
05 Jan 2021
“These will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
So said International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates in September 2020, as he pledged the Tokyo Summer Olympics will start on July 23, 2021 “with or without COVID,” after being postponed for a year amid the pandemic.
The Games have a history of being a beacon of hope. The Olympic flame, seen as a symbol of peace, friendship and tolerance, serves as an homage to the power of fire in ancient Greek mythology and the original Olympic Games in Greece.
The confirmation news came as a huge relief to organisers, because recently the Games seem to have only been burning money. The Tokyo Olympics are already the most expensive Summer Games on record with costs set to go higher, a wide-ranging study from the University of Oxford found. According to the Oxford numbers, Tokyo’s spending is at $15.84 billion. That’s a cost overrun already exceeding 200%, and before several billion more dollars are added on from the one-year delay from the pandemic.
Analysts estimate the insured cost of the Games at $2 billion, including TV rights and sponsorship, plus $600 million for hospitality. The IOC takes out around $800 million of protection for each Summer Games. With insurance figures at that much of a premium, it’s imperative for Tokyo in 2021 that this is an Olympic flame kept shining bright.