Health and Healthcare Systems

Explainer: The Tokyo Olympics by numbers

A man wearing a protective mask, following the COVID-19 outbreak, walks past Olympic Ring promoting Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan

Spectator-less sport: The Tokyo Olympics will look very different from other Games. Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung

Natalie Marchant
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • The Games of the XXXII Olympiad is going ahead in Tokyo a year late, despite concerns about coronavirus.
  • Tens of thousands of athletes, support staff and journalists are expected, but there will be no spectators as Tokyo has entered a state of emergency.
  • Tokyo 2020 aims to be the ‘greenest ever’ Olympics, powered by renewable energy and using recycled medals.

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are going ahead from 23 July, despite concerns in the capital about a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese government are pressing ahead with the XXXII Olympiad after it was delayed last summer – albeit in a very different manner from usual.

Here are some key numbers about this year’s Games.

this diagram shows facts and figures about the 2020
Key facts and figures about the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Image: Statista

0: The number of spectators

Tokyo entered a state of emergency on Monday, July 12, the week after domestic spectators were banned from nearly all venues, amid widespread public concern about the potential spread of the virus.

"We would ask people to support athletes from home," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said.

It follows an earlier ban on international spectators being allowed to enter Japan for the Games.

In March, organizers said the “challenging” COVID-19 situation in Japan and elsewhere – along with the emergence of variant strains of the virus and global travel restrictions – meant that foreign ticket-holders would be barred and refunded.

33: Number of different sports at this year’s Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Games will award 339 medals across 33 sports at 42 venues across Japan.

Five sports – baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing – are featuring for the first time ever, while some – including basketball – include new events.

11,500: Number of athletes at Tokyo 2020

Some 11,500 athletes are due to take part in Tokyo 2020, with a gender balance split of 51% male and 49% female.

However, only 40.5% of people competing in the Paralympics are women.

Some athletes have already pulled out and Tennis World No.1 Novak Djokovic said he was "50-50" about competing following the decision to ban fans and restrictions on the number of people he can take to the Games.

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80%: Percentage of vaccinated people in Olympics athlete village

IOC president Thomas Bach has said that he expects more than 80% of the 11,500 people staying in the athletes’ village to be vaccinated by 23 July.

All athletes have been offered vaccinations thanks to a special deal between Pfizer-BioNTech and the IOC.

If an athlete does test positive, they could be moved to an isolation hotel, ruling them out of their events.

2.93 million tonnes: Amount of CO2 at ‘greenest’ Olympics

Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to host the greenest-ever Games by emitting 2.93 million tonnes of CO2, compared with the 3.3 million tonnes generated during London 2012.

Renewable energy sources will supply all the electricity at the Games, with LED lights used at all venues.

Medals will be cast using precious metals recovered from 6.2 million discarded mobile phones, and podiums made from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean.


62%: Proportion of Japanese wanting Tokyo 2020 delayed or cancelled

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Japanese voters polled on 21 June thought Tokyo 2020 should be postponed or cancelled, compared with just 34% who thought it should go ahead this year.

However, the latter figure marked a significant rise on the previous month, up 14% in favour of hosting it this summer.

Meanwhile, 6,000 doctors represented by the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association called for the Games to be cancelled, saying they have "no spare capacity" in the city’s hospitals.

this graph shows the share of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19
The UK has the biggest share of vaccinated people. Image: Our World in Data

17.9%: Percentage of fully vaccinated people in Japan

On 11 July, the percentage of people fully vaccinated in Japan was 17.9%.

This compares with 51.21% in the UK, 47.62% in the US and 12.95% in Russia, according to Our World in Data.


What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

$15.4bn: Amount Japan has spent on Tokyo 2020 so far

But government audits suggest the figure could be much higher, with both the organizers and the IOC standing to lose billions if the Olympics are cancelled by COVID-19 for a second time.

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