• Wed. Jun 16th, 2021

With just over two months to go until the scheduled start of the Tokyo Olympics


May 18, 2021

With just over two months to go until the scheduled start of the Tokyo Olympics, Australia has unveiled its opening ceremony uniforms in Sydney.

Key points:

  • Australia’s chef de mission Ian Chesterman said he was “absolutely confident” the Tokyo Olympics would go ahead
  • He said the AOC expected more than 90 per cent of world athletes in Tokyo to have been vaccinated 
  • The Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23, with Australia set to announce its two flag bearers on July 7

But as the team took the latest step on the way to Tokyo, showcasing the combination of green, gold and white they will wear at the Games’ traditional launch, signs emerged that opposition in Japan to the Olympics is growing.

A new poll in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper showed 43 per cent of respondents supported cancelling the Olympics, while a further 40 per cent supported another postponement of the Games to 2022.

Only 14 per cent were in favour of the Olympics going ahead as scheduled, compared to 28 per cent in a similar poll in April.

“This will be theirs, and they’ll have it with them in Tokyo. I think they’re very confident, and we’re very confident, the Games are going ahead.

“The commitment of the Japanese government is absolute, and we’re very hopeful that, by the time the Games come around, the Japanese population swing behind the athletes of the world. I think they will.”

The shorts, shirts, dresses, jackets, blazers, ties and scarves that make up the ceremony uniform were designed by Sportscraft.

The design used elements of the Southern Cross and angles inspired by the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.

The team chose Wylie’s Baths in Coogee — ocean baths built by and named after the father of Australian 1912 Olympic silver medallist Mina Wylie — to launch the uniforms.

Chesterman said that the Australian Olympic Committee expected to name Australia’s two flag bearers — one male, one female — for the ceremony on July 7 — 16 days before the scheduled start of the Games in Tokyo.

Asked if there would be more than those two flag bearers involved in the ceremony, he replied:

“We’re very pleased the Japanese are pulling off the Games in the midst of a pandemic. Our athletes are excited for the event, after waiting an extra 12 months.”

The Olympics is set to begin in Tokyo in a little over two months, but support for the Games going ahead this year is falling in Japan. (AP: Eugene Hoshiko)

The next Olympic playbook from organisers — which is expected to detail how the opening ceremony will be conducted — is due out next month. 

Vaccinations for Australia’s Olympians began last week, as part of a program to get all team members done before they travel to Japan.

The chef de mission said the team had had a “very good turnout” for the first round and that there would be a wait of a couple of weeks before people received their second jab.

“That’s another level of comfort we have going into the Games that our athletes will be covered,” he said.

Chesterman said that Australia would work with other National Olympic Committees and the federal government to find a way to vaccinate athletes who were already overseas competing or training ahead of the Games.

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