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Paralympic closing marks end of Tokyo’s 8-year Olympic saga | News – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-09-05 08:56:36 –

Tokyo (AP) — The final act of the late Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics took place on Sunday, almost eight years after the Japanese capital was awarded the Olympics.

The Paralympics have completed a 13-day run at a colorful circus-like ceremony at the National Stadium, directed by Prince Fumihito Akishino, the brother of Emperor Akihito. The Olympics ended almost a month ago.

These were unprecedented Olympics and Paralympics, postponed for a year and marked with footnotes and asterisks. During the Olympics, fans were not allowed, except for thousands of people away from Tokyo. Thousands of school children were allowed to enter several Paralympic venues.

“There were many times I thought these games couldn’t happen,” said Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee. “There were many sleepless nights.”

The closing ceremony was entitled “Harmony Dissonance” and was attended by both healthy actors and other disabled people. The organizers described the theme as “a Paralympic-inspired world, a world where differences shine.”

As with the Olympics, the Paralympics have progressed in Tokyo as a state of emergency was declared by a pandemic. Frequent testing and bubble quarantine of athletes, as in the Olympics, almost stopped the virus, but now there is a surge in cases among Japanese, who are almost 50% fully vaccinated. Did.

Seiko Hashimoto, chairman of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said, “I think the match was over without any major problems.”

However, there was fallout. Lots of it.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga On Friday, two days before the closing, he announced that he would not continue his duties. Suga wanted to get a re-election bump from the Olympics. He got the opposite result after receiving a controversial decision to stage the tournament during a pandemic, as approval rates plummeted after the delay in vaccine deployment in Japan.

Suga succeeded Shinzo Abe, who resigned a year ago for health reasons. On September 7, 2013, when IOC President Jacques Rogge announced Tokyo as the host country for 2020 ahead of Istanbul and Madrid, it was Abe who celebrated in the front row of the hotel ballroom in Buenos Aires.

Sadly by chance, Rogge died a week ago at the age of 79 After being unwell.

Koichi Nakano, a political scientist at Sophia University, said, “We cannot say that the Olympics and Paralympics were successful because Prime Minister Suga accused him of failing to fight the coronavirus. ..

The Paralympics have the potential to leave Japan with a more concrete legacy than the Olympics, raise awareness of people with disabilities, and provide accessible public spaces.

A record number of athletes (4,405) participated in the Paralympics, and a record number of countries won medals. They also saw two athletes from Afghanistan competing. Both of them arrived a few days late after fleeing Kabul.

“The Tokyo Olympics were a model of efficiency and friendliness,” Olympic historian David Walletinsky said in an email to the Associated Press. “Without COVID-related issues, these would have been directly above or near the most organized of the 19 Olympic Games (summer and winter) I attended.”

The cost also set a record.

NS Study by Oxford University These turned out to be the most expensive games on record. Japan officially spent $ 15.4 billion on hosting the Olympics and Paralympics, doubling its original estimate. Some government audits have suggested that the actual cost is twice that. All but $ 6.7 billion are publicly funded.

The pandemic probably cost the organizers about $ 800 million in ticket sales. This is a budget shortage and needs to be covered by more government funding. In addition, local sponsors donated more than $ 3 billion to the operating budget, but with few fans, they made little profit.

Toyota, the main sponsor of the Olympics, has withdrawn game-related TV ads in Japan because of public opposition to the Olympics.

Toshiro Muto, Chief Executive Officer of the Organizing Committee and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan, organized the costs as an investment. He admitted that it is difficult to classify what the cost of the Olympics is and what is not.

“We need to scrutinize further to distinguish which parts are investments and which parts are spending,” Muto said in an interview last week. “It’s hard to define the difference.”

Tokyo too Suffering from voting purchase scandal In the bidding process, I was forced to resign as Chairman Tsunekazu Takeda of the Japanese Olympic Committee two and a half years ago. He was also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

next Beijing Winter Olympics, Open in 5 months. At least one million Uighurs and other predominantly Islamic ethnic groups have been reportedly detained in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of northwestern China, so they want the game to be withdrawn from China. Is billed as.

The US State Department and several other governments have called human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region a genocide, and Intel, one of the IOC’s main sponsors, said it agreed with the feature.

“The COVID-related restrictions imposed in Tokyo are like a dream come true for China’s dictatorship,” said Walletinsky. “There are no foreign spectators and few foreign media. Only what the Communist Party leadership wants. Do athletes protest, and if so, what do the Chinese do? Do you report them? Do you want to arrest them? I don’t know. “

The IOC, which has driven Tokyo to move forward and generated about $ 3 to $ 4 billion in television revenue, has already participated in the next three Summer Olympics. Paris in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028, Brisbane in Australia in 2032.

The Post-Beijing Winter Olympics will be held in 2026 in Milan-Cortina, Italy.

“I think the IOC must be very reassured that the next competition will be held in France, Italy and the United States,” said Walletinsky. “Both Paris and Los Angeles are already well-developed cities with venues and infrastructure.”

Organizing Committee Chairman Hashimoto announced on Sunday that Sapporo will bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics. It was the host city in 1972.

“Sapporo will definitely be a candidate in 2030,” Hashimoto said. “I hope this becomes a reality.”

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Other AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics When https://twitter.com/AP-Sports



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