Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 | Did you know? The “Absent Games” of Tokyo, the appointment canceled by the war

The “Absent Games” ended up being called those that should have been held in 1940 and never took place. It was in 1936, where the last Olympic event had Berlin as the venue in an edition remembered by Nazism and propaganda, but with Jesse Owens’ four golds in athletics, when Tokyo was designated ahead of Helsinki to be the next city where the Games would take place, mainly thanks to the covert support of Rome. Italy, ruled by the dictator Benito Mussolini, longed for the event in 1944 for its capital and withdrew from the vote so that the Japanese city would end up being elected, in a previously agreed strategy. Sapporo was also designated for the Winter Olympics.

But politics and international pressure were to end up changing history once again and preventing the Tokyo Olympics from ending up. The japanese empire invaded Chinese Manchuria in 1931 in an expansion movement that was not well seen within the UN. Precisely the designation as the Olympic venue had the objective of improving democratic relations, but the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War with China in 1937 ended the options that the Japanese capital would end up holding the event.

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The United Kingdom and the United States threatened to boycott and not go to Tokyo due to the tension with the Japanese country, a situation that would end up exploding shortly after the outbreak of World War II, where the Japanese were framed within the Axis powers. , along with Germany and Italy among others. Escalating instability and pressure eventually forced the Japanese empire to resign from the Games officially on July 16, 1938, next to the winter ones in Sapporo. At that time, the planned calendar for sports disciplines had even been advanced, which were to be launched between September 21 and October 6, 1940.

The city chosen to replace Tokyo after his resignation was Helsinki, which would not end up holding an appointment that would end up being suspended after the German invasion of Poland, which began the Second World War. The Olympic Games would not return until 1948, after those scheduled in London were moved in 1944, an edition also canceled, with the Finnish city set as headquarters in 1952.

It would not be until 1964 when Tokyo would become the first Asian city to host an Olympic Games, a milestone that could be reached 20 years earlier, but that politics and war delayed, being above sport on that occasion. The pandemic did not end by canceling the 2020 appointment, but it did delay an event by a year, which on three occasions has chosen the Japanese capital as the venue, although they only end up being disputed in two of them.

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