Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo - The rumors, the truth and the challenges

A couple of weeks ago there were a lot of news reports that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (yes - it is still called the 2020 Olympics even though they are slated to happen in July of this year), were going to be cancelled. I received a lot of phone calls, emails, and text messages asking for my take on this. It was really strange for me, because at the same time that all of you were seeing the news about a potential cancellation of the Olympic games, I was getting emails from the Tokyo Organizing Committee (TOCOG) about upcoming logistics. 

I told everyone that I thought the Olympics would go on for the following reasons:

* The athletes have trained for many years for this event and it means so much to them.

* With all the new vaccines coming out, hopefully they can have a safe Olympics with minimal impact.

* Even if there are limited people in the stands, the television revenues are far too big to be lost. 

Then, last week, there was news coming from Japan that the Games would be going on as planned. And since then, there has been an onslaught of communication from the IOC, TOCOG and the US Olympics and Paralympic Committee. 

I know that a lot of you follow the blog to see my Olympic images and to read the back stories, and I am happy to say that everything looks good for this summer and next winter. It is weird to sit here and write this blog knowing that in 6 months I will be photographing the Summer Olympics AND at this exact same time next year I will be photographing the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Since the planning for these events are so far out, I am dealing with overlapping processes for both Games at one time. Like so many other things in the last 12 months, this is unprecedented.

Just today I received the first "Playbook for Press" for the Tokyo Olympics. 

This playbook lays out the safety guidelines for the press, from beginning to end. They set forth the protocol for pre-travel to the Games, how things will be handled when on the Olympic grounds, and even protocol for exiting the country. 

The bad news

Photographing the Olympics in normal times is always a challenge and exhausting. From what I am reading, there are going to be a lot more challenges at this Olympics. Here are some of those:

* Traveling from venue to venue will be more restricted, with TOCOG recommending that we use press buses only, and not using any public transportation.

* I may have to make reservations to be in certain venues at set times due to the limited number of press per event.

* It sounds like we will all be COVID tested at regular intervals.

* They stated that the press center and other public facilities will be running at only 50% capacity to allow for social distancing. 

* We need to stay at least 6 feet from all the athletes, which will be challenging during the post game interviews. 

* All attendees (including press) will be asked not to cheer, sing or chant, replaced by simply clapping.

* And of course, it will be the first time I will have to shoot wearing a face mask (or two). 

The good news

It looks like the Olympics will actually happen, which is awesome for the athletes and the viewing public. And...since all of you like to follow along with me on this adventure, I am sure to have some crazy and interesting stories leading up to these Olympics, while at the Games and beyond. Stay tuned!

Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 



Garth Scholten said...

So will a Canon R1x make a debut at these Summer Games or next year's Winter Games?

Jeff, I'm hoping things work out you to cover these Games as much as you normally would. Good luck!! (I admit, this partly a selfish hope because I enjoy your posts for the Games!)

Bob F. said...

Your Olympics posts are some of the best photography reads on the Net. Fingers crossed that everything comes off as projected. Mask up and stay safe!