Tokyo 2020's rocky road to delay

Updated: Mar 25, 2020, 11:20 IST | AFP | Tokyo

Embarrassment for Abe as he is forced to tear up blueprints for the proposed national stadium when costs balloon out of control

Pic/ AFP
Pic/ AFP

2013: Tears of joy

TV news presenters burst into tears and thousands of people erupt in screams of delight as the IOC awards the Games to Tokyo in September 2013. With emotions running high, the thoughts of many Japanese turn to the thousands of victims of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, with the Olympics seen by some as a golden opportunity to rebuild. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows Tokyo will be a "safe pair of hands" with a reputation for efficiency and competence.

2015: Stadium scrapped

Embarrassment for Abe as he is forced to tear up blueprints for the proposed national stadium when costs balloon out of control. "I have decided we must go back to the drawing board," a red-faced Abe says in July 2015 after public anger over the $2 billion price tag which would have made it the world's most expensive stadium.

2015: Logo dropped

Scandal follows in September 2015 as the logo for the Games is ditched after accusations of plagiarism. Designer Olivier Debie says the design is stolen from his logo for a Belgian theatre and threatens court action before officials withdraw the emblem, saying it "no longer has public support".

2019: Budget blowout

Organisers unveil the final version of their budget in December, with the Games expected to cost $12.6 billion, although Tokyo 2020 and the IOC are still wrangling over the cost of moving the marathon. An audit suggests the national government's part of the overall bill, which is supposed to be 150 billion yen, is actually nearly 10 times that.

2020: No cancellation

By late March, the Coronavirus outbreak has been declared a pandemic. With pressure growing for organisers to acknowledge the Games may be hit, Tokyo governor Koike calls cancellation "unthinkable".

2020: Historic decision

The IOC and Japan eventually bow to the inevitable and postpone the Olympics in a historic decision.

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