Jul 22, 2021 – From hydrogen cauldron to medals made from recycled cellphones, from gender parity to the first official pride house, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are paving the way for the future. Here’s everything you need to know about how Tokyo 2020 is helping build a better, more sustainable world through sport.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Only eight new competition venues were built from scratch. Some 25 of the 43 Olympic and Paralympic venues existed before the Games – some of them were used at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Many of them have been modernized with advanced construction technologies to reduce energy consumption. Ten other sites are temporary structures designed to minimize construction costs and energy consumption.
- The Olympic torch was made from scrap aluminum from temporary housing built in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake. Even the T-shirts and pants worn by torchbearers were made from recycled plastic bottles collected by Coca Cola.
- Metals recovered from nearly 79,000 tonnes of smartphones and other electronic equipment donated by the Japanese public – known as “urban mines” – were used to make the 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
- As part of an initiative by global Olympic partner P&G, the medalists will step onto podiums made from recycled plastic waste.
- Ninety-nine percent of all goods purchased for the Games will be reused or recycled. For example, the wood donated by more than 60 municipalities for Operation BATON (Building an Athletes’ Village with Nation’s Wood) for the Olympic Village Square will be dismantled after the Games and returned to communities for reuse.
- Organizers rented much of the equipment rather than buying it. Some 65,000 computers, tablets and electrical devices, as well as 19,000 desks, chairs and other devices that were rented for the Games, will be returned and reused after the end of the Games.
- The athletes will sleep on 18,000 beds made from recyclable cardboard. Weightlifters and shot puters need not be alarmed, however: the frames are over two meters long and support up to 200 kilograms! Even mattresses can be recycled into plastic products.
Beyond carbon neutrality
- Much of the energy for Tokyo 2020 comes from renewable sources, including solar panels and wood biomass, which uses construction waste and tree cutting in Japan to generate electricity.
- Ariake Urban Sports Park, which hosts BMX freestyle, BMX racing and skateboarding events, is powered entirely by renewable solar electricity produced in Fukushima, the scene of the Great Earthquake of 2011 in the is from Japan.
- Where it has not been possible to use renewable energy, Tokyo 2020 uses green energy certificates to offset the use of non-renewable electricity.
- Tokyo will go beyond carbon neutrality by offsetting more carbon emissions than it emits. The Games carbon offset program covers all direct and indirect emissions, including transport and construction.
- Under Japan’s carbon cap-and-trade program, the carbon credits will offset approximately 720,000 tonnes of CO2 that are expected to be emitted in Tokyo during the four-day opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics.
- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has pledged to halve the city’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 (from 2000 levels) and increase energy use renewable by about 50%.
- Clean hydrogen has fueled the Olympic torch for part of its journey and will ignite the Olympic and Paralympic cauldrons.
- Electricity and hot water in dormitories, cafeterias and training facilities for 11,000 athletes in the Olympic Village run on hydrogen. A hydrogen station has been installed nearby. After the Games, the Village will be transformed into hydrogen apartments, a school, shops and other facilities.
- A fleet of 500 hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) cars and 100 FCEV buses were provided by global Olympic partner Toyota as part of the official Olympic fleet.
Gender equality, diversity and inclusion
- Tokyo 2020 is the first edition of the Olympic Games with gender parity, with 49% of female athletes and 51% of men;
- For the first time, a female athlete medicine department in the Olympic / Paralympic Village Polyclinic has been established to provide comprehensive medical support to female athletes.
- Under the leadership of Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko, in March 2021, Tokyo 2020 appointed 12 additional women to its board, increasing its female representation from 20 to 42 percent.
- The Games Organizing Committee has a special department dedicated to diversity and inclusion, under the slogan: “Know the differences, show the differences”.
- Tokyo 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Actions was launched by Tokyo 2020 and identifies specific actions for any person or organization to take to advance gender equality and inclusion, in Japan and around the world. .
- The checkered pattern of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic emblems represents different countries, cultures and ways of thinking. Its message “Unity in Diversity” promotes diversity as a platform to connect the world.
- The first permanent LGBTQ + center was established in Tokyo, called Pride House Tokyo. It aims to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues by creating reception areas, hosting events and producing diverse content. It is the very first House of Pride officially recognized by the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Building for the future
- The two main Olympic zones – the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone – are designed to make the most of the past for a sustainable future.
- The Heritage Zone reuses several iconic sites used in the 1964 Tokyo Games, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium table tennis venue and the world-famous Nippon Budokan.
- Japan’s new National Stadium, home to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, features giant eaves to allow cooling breezes to flow freely. The eaves, a feature of traditional Japanese architecture, are designed to use natural wind instead of air conditioning.
- In contrast, the ultramodern Tokyo Bay area is an innovative urban development model that will revitalize Tokyo’s waterfront, with better transportation and access to the bay. Among the 16 sites is the Tokyo Aquatic Center, which can adjust the length and depth of its pools by moving floors and walls and is powered by solar energy and a ground heat exchanger.
- The Olympic Village – which sits at the intersection of the two zones – sits on reclaimed land and uses hydrogen powered electricity and hot water in dormitories, cafeterias and training facilities for 11,000 athletes. After the Games, it will become the first hydrogen-powered city in Japan and a model for future hydrogen-based societies.
- The 44-hectare village includes a “relaxation house” in Harumi Harbor Park where athletes can rest and rejuvenate. The electricity used by the facility is produced with hydrogen using pure hydrogen fuel cells.