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Tokyo Olympics we are with you!

Amidst much controversy the Tokyo Olympics are going ahead. Whether your views are for or against the running of the Olympic Games everyone is feeling for Tokyo and Japan trying to host the Olympic Games in these unprecedented times.

This is not the Olympics we expected, it is certainly not the Olympics that Japan had planned for, but it is the Olympics we have and it is the Olympics Tokyo and Japan has ...........and so Japan we are with you!

I was living in Japan in September 1993 when it was announced that Sydney would host the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in 2000. For weeks following the announcement I basked in the glory of 'Shidonii' being the successful bidding winner. Work colleagues, my friends, my students and my son's school ...... everyone congratulated me and suddenly I became an Olympic winner just by default of being Australian!

Seven years later and I was again in Japan during the hosting of the Sydney Olympic Games. It was September 2000 and I was escorting Australian school groups throughout Japan on their trips to Japan with Saizen Tours. We caught the occasional glimpse of the Sydney Olympic Games on Japanese TV and again basked in the Olympic glory, being congratulated by everyone in Japan when they realised we were Australian!

Now it is Tokyo's turn again. Both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium. The National Stadium was used as the main stadium for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games and has been extensively rebuilt as a brand new stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The Opening Olympic Ceremony will be held this Friday, 23rd July, commencing at 8pm Japan time.

7pm for Western Australia.

8:30pm for South Australia and Northern Territory.

9pm for Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania.

The event will run for approximately 4 hours and can be seen on on Channel 7 and Seven's streaming service 7plus. The Seven Network will broadcast the Games free to air, with coverage spread across its channels 7, 7TWO and 7Mate. Seven will also livestream every moment via 43 channels on the 7plus app and their website.

Japan has called the concept of the Opening Ceremony "United by Emotion"; which is the official motto of the 2020 Olympics.

"People all over the world spent the past year living under the threat of COVID-19, and the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic. We are all different ages and nationalities and come from all walks of life, and now on top of that we are physically separated. That is why we want everyone to experience the same excitement, joy, and at times disappointment, through the athletes’ competitive performances.

Sport is universal. It is an invaluable treasure that we believe has the power to unite the world through emotion—even if we are apart, speak different languages, or come from different cultures. In the Opening Ceremony, we will aspire to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express our gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year, and also to bring a sense of hope for the future. We hope it will be an experience that conveys how we all have the ability to celebrate differences, to empathise, and to live side by side with compassion for one another".

Most events will be held in Tokyo however several sports events will be held elsewhere throughout Japan. Football matches will be played across six cities and baseball and softball matches in Yokohama and Fukushima. Sapporo, in Hokkaido, has been chosen for the marathons and race walking due to its cooler, northern climate and thus avoiding Tokyo’s humid summer heat. Road and track cycling events will be held around Mount Fuji and basketball in Saitama City at Saitama Super Arena. Surfing will make its Olympic debut at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach situated in Chiba Prefecture and sailing will be held in the seaside town of Enoshima, close to Kamakura, at Enoshima Yacht Harbour in Kanagawa Prefecture.

The Closing Ceremony concept is "Worlds We Share", acknowledging that the games will have showcased a variety of cultures and backgrounds from throughout the world. "Even if we cannot be together, we can share the same moment, and that is something that we will never forget. It is this salient message which we believe will create a Closing Ceremony that will open the door to a brighter future".

The Closing Ceremony will be held on Sunday, 8th August, also commencing at 8pm Japan time.

Australia's team is made up of a total of 487 selected athletes, comprising 261 females and 226 male delegates. The 33 sports and team members consist of the following:

Archery (4人), Artistic Swimming (8人), Athletics (64人), Badminton (4人), Basketball (12人), Beach Volleyball (4人), Boxing (5人), Canoe Slalom/Canoe Sprint (17人), Cycling (29人),

Diving (7人), Equestrian (9人), Football (44人), Golf (4人), Gymnastics (11人), Hockey (36人), Judo (3人), Karate (1人), Modern Pentathlon (2人), Rowing (38人), Rugby 7S (26人), Sailing (13人), Shooting (15人), Skateboarding (5人), Softball (15人), Sport Climbing (2人), Surfing (4人), Swimming (37人), Table Tennis (6人), Taekwondo (4人), Tennis (10人), Triathlon (6人), Water Polo (13人), Weightlifting (5人)

Last night on Saturday 17th July, after months of hard training and wondering if the Olympic Games would proceed, the majority of our Olympic Team arrived into Narita International Airport Tokyo on a Qantas Airways chartered flight. Good luck to our Olympians, we will be cheering from afar for gold, silver and bronze medals and a winning streak for Australia.

Our best wishes also to the many athletes and nations participating from around the world. Especially our hopes and best wishes will be with Japan, hosting the biggest Olympic Games in history during these challenging and ever changing pandemic times.

Spectators are banned, we can't be there in person, but we will be in Tokyo in spirit!


Written by Rondell Herriot, Co-Managing Director Saizen Tours

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