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Tokyo 2020

Is it Tokyo Olympics 2020 or Tokyo Olympics 2021?

Since the Olympics was pushed by almost a year, there has been a single question amongst people, "Is it Tokyo 2020 or is it Tokyo 2021 now?"

Tokyo Olympics (Source: CNN)

Tokyo Olympics (Source: CNN)


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 21 July 2021 11:03 AM GMT

The Tokyo Olympics which was supposed to be held in 2020 is finally upon us. With the torchlight ceremony expected to take place on 25 March 2021, one can be fairly certain that the prestigious Games would be finally happening later this year.

But, since the Olympics was pushed by almost a year to 2021 due to a global pandemic engulfing the world for the most part of 2020, there has been a single question amongst people across the globe, "Is it Tokyo 2020 or is it Tokyo 2021 now?"

Well, common sense suggests it should be called Tokyo 2021 because, frankly, it is being held in the year 2021. All the previously held editions of the Olympics are well known with the year they are held in.

2016 is synonymous with Rio de Janeiro, 2012 with London, 2008 with Beijing and so on. So, should not Tokyo be equal to 2021? Well, we may think so but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo organisers certainly do not think the same.

What is the IOC's take?

Both the IOC and Tokyo organisers made it clear back in 2020 that even though the Olympics would be held in the year 2021, it would still be known as Tokyo 2020.

The foremost reasoning given behind this is brand identity. The Tokyo Olympics have been branded and marketed as Tokyo 2020 since very long and redesigning it as Tokyo 2021 would require a complete refurbishment.

Restructuring it as Tokyo 2021 would also need a complete overhaul in branding strategies and marketing plans. The postponement of the Games has already caused huge losses to the IOC, the Tokyo organisers as well as the Japanese Government and under such circumstances, it would certainly neither be preferable nor affordable to entirely overhaul a brand as big as the Olympics.

What could be the other reasons?

The other reasons for IOC staying put on continuing to recognise it as Tokyo 2020 might, frankly, be their way of sending out a message to the future generations how the entire world came together to fight off a deadly pandemic and succeeded in the same.

It might also be an indication that despite a global pandemic that destroyed millions of lives across the world nothing has really changed. It would take something much bigger and deadly to defeat the human race.

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