This was an Olympic Games like no other. Played out in the shadow of the pandemic, athletes competed in mostly empty stadiums, with the general public feeling ambivalent at best.
Several months later, many figures in the business world with a connection to the country – such as Ajab Samrai, former CCO of O&M Group Japan – will be watching the Games’ legacy with interest.
The answer to the question of whether the Games were a success or failure may depend on exactly who you ask. Parties with a vested interest include The International Olympic Committee, the athletes themselves, the Japanese committee that organized the Games, the Japanese public, and the fans watching from home. Then there are the sponsors to consider and, of course, the Japanese government, including Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
In terms of the athletes and the Japanese fans, the Games were an undoubted triumph, with the country winning more medals than ever before and breaking multiple records along the way. Take a look at the embedded PDF for more information about the medals won.
However, COVID-19 cases have soared wildly during the course of the Games, with more than 15,700 cases recorded in the country on the eve of the closing ceremony.
In terms of the government, the impressive medal tally and the excitement this generated among fans has been extremely positive, boosting the party’s hopes of success in the next set of elections. The Prime Minister will no doubt be hoping that this is enough to overcome any remaining public ill will over the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Triumph and Tribulation
The overwhelming sense of the Tokyo Olympics is that it was a muted success, or a mitigated trial. Its organizational aspects – especially given it was held under pandemic circumstances – were impressive, and the athletes themselves were largely satisfied with the arrangements and the overall experience.
The Games themselves were largely exceptional, with the athleticism on display often nothing short of phenomenal. However, the overall atmosphere of the Games – and the lack of any specific sense of their location and the cultural heritage of the host country – was a significant blow to any hope of the event being a resounding and unmarred success.