Tokyo 2020's rocky road

Tokyo 2020 mascots Someity (Paralympics) and Miraitowa (Olympics) on their Make The Beat tour in Barcelona this month. The Games were deferred on Tuesday. PHOTO: REUTERS
Tokyo 2020 mascots Someity (Paralympics) and Miraitowa (Olympics) on their Make The Beat tour in Barcelona this month. The Games were deferred on Tuesday. PHOTO: REUTERS

2013: TEARS OF JOY

TV news presenters burst into tears and thousands of people erupt with screams of delight as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awards the Games to Tokyo in September.

2015: STADIUM SCRAPPED

Embarrassment for Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he is forced to tear up blueprints for the proposed national stadium when costs balloon out of control to an estimated US$2 billion (S$2.9 billion).

2015: LOGO DROPPED

Scandal follows in September as the logo for the Games is ditched after accusations of plagiarism. 2018: CUTE MASCOTS

Futuristic mascots for the Olympics and Paralympics are unveiled in July. They were chosen by schoolchildren.

2019: BOXING BLUES

In an unprecedented move, the IOC in June strips troubled governing body Aiba of the right to run the boxing competition at the Games over various allegations.

2019: FRENCH CHARGES

French magistrates in January charge the former head of Japan's Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, as they probe two payments totalling US$2.3 million made before and after Tokyo was chosen.

2019: MARATHON MOVE

After warnings against holding the marathon in the middle of Tokyo's sweltering summer, the IOC springs a surprise in October by shifting the flagship race to Sapporo, 800km to the north.

2019: BUDGET BLOWOUT

Organisers unveil the final version of their budget in December, with the Games expected to cost US$12.6 billion, although Tokyo 2020 and the IOC are still wrangling over the cost of moving the marathon.

2019: RUSSIAN BAN

Russia's participation in the Games is thrown into question in December, when the World Anti-Doping Agency bans the country's athletes for four years from global events.

2020: CANCELLATION 'UNTHINKABLE'

By March 11, the coronavirus outbreak has been declared a pandemic causing more than 325,000 infections and over 14,400 deaths. IOC says there is "no need for any drastic decisions" and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike calls a cancellation "unthinkable".

MARCH 24, 2020: HISTORIC POSTPONEMENT

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 'Tokyo 2020's rocky road'. Print Edition | Subscribe