Light Paper - Most expensive, greatest gender parity, most sports: Tokyo Olympics by the numbers
Figure. With 49 events, aquatics is the number one sports category in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. (a)
Most expensive, greatest gender parity, most sports: Tokyo Olympics by the numbers(b)
Palavras-chave: Tokyo Olympics, Summer Olympics, swimming, Swimming golds, Swimming records, rankings
The Tokyo Olympics officially open on July 23 – one year later than originally planned and in an Olympic stadium that will be empty of spectators thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Tokyo is not the first Olympics to have been rescheduled or cancelled (1) – the Olympics did not run during either of the world wars, and the Antwerp Olympics in 1920 (2) were a modest affair – it is the first to have been postponed just months out from the opening ceremony.
And postponing and rejigging such a large event is expensive (Table 1).
Table 1. The top 5 most expensive Summer Olympics
Olympic games total sports cost not including road, rail, airport, hotel, and other infrastructure.
The initial estimated cost was US$7.3 billion, which was revised up to $15.4 billion in December 2020, but some estimates now indicate it has blown out to US$25 billion (3).
But it’s not all bad news. Despite a lack of spectators, the Olympics will have about the same amount of competitors (and nations) that were expected (4) before the pandemic.
The games will also have the highest ratio of female competitors in the history of the Olympics (Table 2).
Table 2. Men, women and total Olympic competitors, 1896-2021. (d)
While it’s not yet parity, this is a long way from the avowedly all-male (5) Athens Olympics in 1896.
With the introduction of several new sports (6), these games will also have the highest number of events in the history of the Olympics (Table 3).
Table 3. Tokyo has the largest number of events and sports in the history of the Olympics. (d)
FOCUS ON SWIMMING
With 49 events, aquatics is the number one sports category in the Olympics (Figure).
Click through three of the major swimming events below (Table 4) to explore how times have come down since the first modern Olympics.
Table 4. Swimming golds and records over the years. (b)
HIGHER, BETTER, FASTER... LONGER?
While most swimming events focus on short to mid-length distances (from 50m to 1,500m) or relays, the marathon swimming event (7) puts competitors through their paces with a 10km open-water course.
The marathon swim debuted at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (7) and is somewhat unique in swimming events because it is held in open water, with the course and conditions changing for each Olympics.
This means it’s much harder to compare records over time, but it does make it interesting to compare with other famous long-distance swimming courses – many of which are much longer (Table 5).
Table 5. Significant long distance swims vs Olympic marathon event.
The longest open-water swimming distance recorded was by Veljko Rogošic of Croatia, who swam from Grado to Riccione in Italy over a 50 hour period in August 2006. (e)
Another major factor that sets Tokyo apart from other Olympics is how hot it will be (Table 6). When Tokyo last hosted the games in 1964, they were held in October to avoid the city’s hot and humid summer.
The concern over the heat and its impact led the IOC to order the marathon and distance walking events to be moved 800km north to Sapporo (8).
Table 6. The Olympics are taking place at the hottest point in the Tokyo year.
Mean monthly maximum, July 2016 to June 2021, Tokyo, Japan. (f)
(1) HISTORY [Internet]: A&E Television Networks; 2020 Mar 24. When World Events Disrupted the Olympics; [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://www.history.com/news/olympics-postponed-cancelled
(2) The Conversation [Internet]: The Conversation; 2021 Jul 7. Sardines for breakfast, hypothermia rescues: the story of the cash-strapped, post-pandemic 1920 Olympics; [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://theconversation.com/sardines-for-breakfast-hypothermia-rescues-the-story-of-the-cash-strapped-post-pandemic-1920-olympics-162246
(3) The Mainichi: Japan's National Daily Since 1922 [Internet]. Tokyo: THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS; 2020 Dec 30. Welcome 2021: The year of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics; [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20201230/p2g/00m/0sp/070000c
(4) Statista [Internet]. Hamburg; 2020 Oct 13. Number of athletes competing at Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Japan 2019; [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1096816/japan-number-of-athletes-competing-tokyo-2020-olympic-and-paralympic-games/.
(5) The Conversation [Internet]: The Conversation; 2021 Jul 15. The Tokyo Olympics are supposed to be a ‘landmark in gender equality’ — are the Games really a win for women?; [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://theconversation.com/the-tokyo-olympics-are-supposed-to-be-a-landmark-in-gender-equality-are-the-games-really-a-win-for-women-164234
(6) The Conversation [Internet]: The Conversation; 2021 Jul 18. Alt goes mainstream: how surfing, skateboarding, BMX and sport climbing became Olympic events; [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://theconversation.com/alt-goes-mainstream-how-surfing-skateboarding-bmx-and-sport-climbing-became-olympic-events-164158
(7) International Olympic Committee [Internet]. Lausanne; 2021. History of Marathon Swimming: What is Marathon Swimming?; [cited 2023 Apr 27]; Available from: https://olympics.com/en/sports/marathon-swimming/
(8) The Guardian [Internet]. New York; 2019. 2020 Olympics: Tokyo accepts 'painful' decision to move marathon to Sapporo; [cited 2023 Feb 10]; Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/01/2020-olympics-tokyo-accepts-painful-decision-to-move-marathon-to-sapporo
(a) IMAGEM: SATIRO SODRÉ/SSPRESS/CBDA
(b) Article adapted for publication in accordance with the journal's submission rules, under a Creative Commons license from The Conversation.
Some original graphic arts made with Flourish
(c)Flyvbjerg B, Budzier A, Lunn D. Regression to the Tail: Why the Olympics Blow Up. SSRN [Internet]. 2020 Nov 17 [cited 2023 Apr 24];53(2):233–260. DOI 10.2139/ssrn.3686009. Available from: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3686009
(d)International Olympic Committee [Internet]. Lausanne; 2021. Tokyo 2020 Facts and figures; [cited 2023 Apr 27]; Available from: https://olympics.com/ioc/tokyo-2020-facts-and-figures
(e)Guinness World Records Limited [Internet]. London; 2023. Longest distance ocean swim (marathon swimming); [cited 2023 Apr 27]; Available from: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-ocean-swim
(f)Tokyo Climate Center. WMO Regional Climate Center in RA II (Asia). [Internet] Tokyo (JP): Climate Prediction Division; 2022 [cited 2023 Apr 27]. Available from: https://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/tcc/tcc/products/climate/climatview/graph_mkhtml.php?&n=47662&p=60&s=4&r=0&y=2021&m=6&e=0&k=0&d=2