After two years of hard work and planning, the results are in and Tokyo has been elected as the host city for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. Following three very passionate presentations from the candidate cities – Istanbul, Tokyo, and Madrid – the Tokyo 2020 team was already feeling confident about their chances.
Yuko Arakida, the Tokyo 2020 athletes commission chair said, “All the Japanese people are behind us and supporting us, so we have confidence in winning the right to host the Olympic Games in 2020 and we are ready to deliver the fantastic Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.”
A few hours later, IOC President Jacques Rogge delivered the final result to a worldwide audience and the joy of the Tokyo 2020 team was evident as they all erupted from their seats in the auditorium. Tokyo 2020 Vice President and CEO Masato Mizuno underlined the responsibility that the whole team had felt during the bid: “It’s incredible and I do appreciate all the people that supported us.” He continued, “We had so much responsibility to make this bid a success and the team did wonderful work. It’s incredible! This is a result of all our efforts.”
Bid ambassador Christel Takigawa, was lost for words immediately after the announcement but was “so happy” that Tokyo had held off the challenge from Madrid and Istanbul. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke of his joy at the victory when he said, “I talked about the Olympic Games in 1964 then I was only 10 years old but a lot of kids were inspired like me by them and had dreams and hopes. We wanted to have aspirations of winning a medal but for many it was not possible. When I heard Tokyo announced I was overwhelmed because I was the person that had got this medal and the joy was more than when I was first elected prime minister, the joy was greater.”
As well as the elation felt by the entire Tokyo delegation with several members shedding tears of joy, the spirit of friendship and respect was not forgotten, with Bid Chair Tsunekazu Takeda and Tokyo Governor Inose both congratulating Istanbul and Madrid for their efforts and expressing the belief that while only one city could win that their friendship would endure.