Australians are a sport-mad bunch. AFL, NRL, cricket, tennis, cycling – it’s all good. We all have our favourite sports… and our rivalries too. But there’s one quadrennial event that never fails to get us all up and cheering in a united front: the Summer Olympics!
Though the starting gun fired a little late this time round, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is finally in full swing – and it’s been worth the wait. We’ve been glued to the screen.
Rather than focusing on the sporting events themselves, which you’ll no doubt be familiar with by now, here are five facts you may not know about this year’s games.
1. What’s in a name?
The super-cute mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games are Miraitowa and Someity. Designed by Ryo Taniguchi, they could easily be at home in an episode of Digimon. Blue and white Miraitowa’s name combines the Japanese words “mirai”, meaning future, and “towa”, which means eternity. Pink and white Someity, whose name is a play on the phrase “so mighty”, is said to embody the strength and determination of the paralympic athletes.
2. Can’t torch this
The Olympic Torch is made from 30% recycled aluminium and features five separate “flower petals” from where the sacred flame emerges. Over 121 days, the torch travelled all around Japan, with 98% of the population being within one hour travel time of seeing the flame.
3. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie
The Australian Olympic Team has an impressive 486 members competing in 33 sports, including diving, swimming, modern pentathlon, Taekwondo and, for the first time at an Olympic Games, surfing! Skateboarding is another new addition to the sporting lineup. The Australian squad is just over the 470 athletes who competed in the Athens Olympic Games back in 2004.
4. Upcycled is the new gold, silver and bronze
The shiny gold, silver and bronze medals you see being presented to winners this year are all made of 100% recycled materials, the majority of which came from old mobile phones! Over a period of roughly two years, the raw materials needed to produce the 5000 or so medals were extracted and melted down from electronic devices contributed by people from all over Japan.
5. Medals aren’t the only things recyclable
Taking the recyclable mantra even further, the bed frames in the Olympic Village are also designed to be easily recycled or reused after the games have ended. They’re all made from cardboard, with a comfy single mattress placed on top. They’re sturdy and easily customisable too, with athletes able to adjust the firmness of the frame to help relieve aches and pains.
Want to know more about Japan? Check out 8 destinations we can’t wait to visit soon.