Article by Micheal Warren

The countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continues to gather steam, as New Zealand qualifies its first quota spots for the Games. Tokyo 2020 will showcase new sports and be the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history. This column will look at the sports program for the upcoming Olympic Games and will also focus on the legacy and use of stadiums from the last time Tokyo hosted the world’s premier sporting event in 1964.


New Zealand Qualifies First Quota Spots for Tokyo 2020

The first quota spots have been secured for New Zealand following the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2018 Sailing World Championships.

At the 2018 World Equestrian Games held in Tryon, USA, New Zealand finished in seventh place securing New Zealand’s representation at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

New Zealand also secured multiple quota spots at the 2018 Sailing World Champs held in Aarhus, Denmark. New Zealand secured quota spots in the laser class, finn class, men’s 470 class, 49er class, 49erFX class and the Nacra 17 class, securing qualification in six of the ten events set to be held in Tokyo.  Further opportunities will be available for New Zealand to secure quota spots at respective 2019 World Champs.

2019 is shaping up to be a busy year for perspective Olympiads as the road to Tokyo intensifies, with many qualification opportunities across multiple sports!

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Above: Andy Maloney will return to the NZL Sailing Team after finishing in the top 10 at the world championships. Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing.


New Sports Complete an Exciting Line-up for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

207 nations are expected to arrive in Tokyo to take part in 339 events in 33 sports, the most ever. The Opening Ceremony will kick off the games on 24 July 2020 and four sports will make their Olympic debut: Karate, Sport Climbing, Surfing, and Skateboarding, while Baseball and Softball will return to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008.

Some exciting new events will complete the Olympic program in 2020, including:

  • Aquatics: Men’s 800m Freestyle; Women’s 800m Freestyle; and 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay
  • Archery: Mixed Team Event
  • Athletics: 4x400m Mixed Team Relay
  • Basketball: Men’s and Women’s 3x3
  • Cycling (BMX): Men’s and Women’s BMX Freestyle Park
  • Cycling (Track): Men’s and Women’s Madison
  • Fencing: Men’s and Women’s Teams Event
  • Judo: Mixed Team Event
  • Table Tennis: Mixed Doubles
  • Triathlon: Mixed Team Relay


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Above: Surfer Paige Hareb is hoping to represent New Zealand at Tokyo 2020

The changes to the Olympic programme will bring about the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 44.2% of athletes were female; while 48.8% of athletes competing in Tokyo will be women. The nature of new sports and new events will modernise the Olympic programme and will keep the Olympic Movement relevant to younger generations.


Tokyo 1964 Olympic Legacy at the Heart of the Vision for 2020

The 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo left many legacies, including major urban development projects that have benefited the Japanese capital for more than 50 years, including new highways, venues, hotels, airports, and railways. Perhaps the biggest initiative was the construction of the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train between Osaka and Tokyo, that has carried more than 5.5 billion passengers since its opening.

These projects and Tokyo’s transport infrastructure were a key part of its successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Part of this bid was to utilise several venues in 2020 that housed sporting events for the 1964 Olympic Games.

At least five of the venues built for the 1964 Olympic Games will once again be used for Olympic competition.  Venues used both in 1964 and 2020 include the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Nippon Budokan, Equestrian Park, Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, and the Enoshima Yacht Harbour.

The Yoyogi National Gymnasium hosted swimming and diving events at the 1964 Olympic Games, and in 2020 will host the handball competition.

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The Yoyogi National Gymnasium in 1964 

The Nippon Budokan stadium was originally built for the judo competition for the 1964 Olympic Games and will once again host judo in 2020. Nippon Budokan will also host karate events in 2020.

Like in 1964, equestrian events will be held at the equestrian park, with the Sea Forest Cross-Country Course hosting the cross-country portion of the three-day event. Rowing, Canoe Sprint, and Mountain Bike events will also be staged at Sea Forest.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium hosted gymnastics at the 1964 Olympic Games, and in 2020 will host the table tennis competition.

Finally, Enoshima will once again play host to the sailing competition, where New Zealand will look to replicate the gold won in the Flying Dutchman Class in 1964.


Onwards to Tokyo 2020

As the countdown to Tokyo gains pace, this blog will track Kiwi athletes on their path to Olympic qualification and competition. The 2020 Games will be a momentous Olympic Games for New Zealand as it will be the 100-year anniversary since a New Zealand team left our shores to compete in the world’s biggest and most significant sporting event.


About the author 

Micheal Warren @warrenmich1

Micheal has recently completed a PhD in Political Science at Victoria University in Wellington. His research looked at how New Zealand’s participation in the Olympic Movement has contributed to national identity and ultimately found that New Zealand’s participation at the Olympic Games epitomises what it means to be a New Zealander. The idea of the under-dog and punching above our weight are best replicated through New Zealand’s Olympic participation.

Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 1964 Olympic Summer Games
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