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The Tokyo 2020 Olympics: What You Need to Know


Five new sports will be added to the Olympic lineup, which now stands at 33: Skateboarding, “sports climbing,” surfing and, appropriately for Japan, baseball and softball, and karate. Existing sports, such as canoeing, kayaking, boxing and fencing, will also see a rebalancing with additional events added, primarily with an eye toward increased gender equality.

The first round of Tokyo Olympics ticketing was limited by lottery system to residents of Japan and closed on May 28. A subsequent “relief measure” lottery was held in August. Paralympic tickets were also awarded on a lottery basis, and closed on September 9.

Thirty percent of an estimated 7.8 million have been set aside for overseas visitors, sold by “Authorized Ticket Resellers.” For those in the United States, ticket sales will be handled by CoSport and went on sale in July. As of this writing, all available tickets have been sold, although subsequent rounds of ticketing are expected to take place on an ongoing basis before the start of the Games. The first in 2020 was scheduled for Jan. 16.

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee will also host an online resale site beginning in the spring, with ticket prices capped at the original face value. Available for both foreign visitors and Japanese residents, the official resale service may provide relief for those shut out of the initial rounds of ticketing.

Lack of tickets does not necessarily mean a lack of Olympics fun in and around Tokyo. The organizing committee has approved 30 “Live Site” venues across Japan for non-ticketholders, including in areas affected by the Tohoku and Kumamoto earthquakes. These sites will feature live televised sports broadcasts, cultural events and among other programs, attendees will have the chance to try out various Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Shortly after the first round of tickets went on sale in Japan, controversy arose over certain aspects of the terms and conditions attached to the purchase of tickets, namely, the transfer of intellectual property rights of photos taken by attendees at Olympic events to the organizing committee. Would this mean then that the Committee — notorious for protecting its I.P. rights — would then crack down on social media photos?

Organizers have clarified that, while the Committee is in fact claiming copyright over photos taken by ticketholders, it will not prevent those photos from being posted to social media. Only commercial reproduction of photos will be disallowed. Controversially, however, audio and video clips taken by spectators are not permitted to be posted on social media. Organizers are expected to be vigilant in filing takedown notices with social media networks.

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