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The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are quickly approaching. With the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday, July 24th, and the Games from Saturday 25th to Sunday 9th of August 2021, it’s time to get excited! But what can we expect? Let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows of this year’s Olympic games.

The Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony

Every two years, we get to watch as a new Olympic host city is revealed – and quite probably, every two years, there’s going to be something unusual about it. The Rio 2016 opening ceremony was spectacular, casting the athletes in an epic battle between good and evil that ended in triumph for all; the 2012 London opening ceremony was a celebration of the industrial revolution and Britain’s rich history, culminating in James Bond ushering us into the XXII Olympic Summer Games. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Japan for the second time, having hosted the Winter Olympics in Nagano back in 1998; this year’s Games are coming nearly twenty years after their last appearance. The opening ceremony is sure to be as unique and diverse as Japan itself.

The 2020 Olympic Venues

The Tokyo Olympics is going to be an Olympic Games with a lot of firsts. We’ve seen the venues for rugby sevens, BMX, and baseball at the Rio 2016 games; we’ve seen three cities hosting the Summer Olympics in one year, with Paris, London, and Los Angeles each taking turns staging their own individual Olympics back in 1924; Tokyo 2020 will be the first big one to have a fan zone. That’s right; you read that correctly: A FAN ZONE. According to planning minister Hiroshi Hase, it’ll host “many amusements aimed at everyone”.

The Stadiums

For those of us living in Japan who have Japanese as our first language, the stadiums at this year’s Olympics are going to be quite a change! The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium will be built in Shinjuku Ward, using existing structures and facilities from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. As you can see above, it’s a pretty big stadium – but it looks positively tiny compared to the new National Stadium – inspired by a folding bicycle wheel! A lot of construction has been used to get this monolithic stadium into place, and there’s more still to come in the next few years.

The Torch Relay

The torch relay is one of the most exciting parts of any Olympic Games – and it’s also probably its best-known one! The relay will start at Aomi, Tokyo, in February 2020 – and the torch itself is a collaboration between designer Stéphane Janssen and architect Kengo Kuma. It’s not just any old torch, either – it’s designed to be as sustainable as possible. The torch is powered by solar panels built into its structure, so it should run smoothly through the relay with minimal charge.

The Olympic Mascots

Every Olympics has a mascot – but this time, Japan is going to be introducing not one, not two, but three: “Toroji,” “Tobidango,” and “Mogumogu”. It’s hard to tell at this point whether or not they’ll become instant classics in the same vein as Wenlock and Mandeville from the London 2012 Olympics.