For two weeks, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio dominated the global stage, with athletes performing physical feats that most of us can only dream about. Patriotism reigned as each country cheered its hometown champions on to gold, silver and bonze-medal victories.
And here in the U.S., there were plenty of accolades to go around. In the end, Team USA emerged as the biggest winner with 121 medals—46 of them gold!
Aside from gold medals, the Games provided the perfect backdrop to character-building and sportsmanship. We witnessed in real time what it looks like to have the heart of a champion (i.e., Simone Biles) and to fall from grace (i.e., Ryan Lochte).
After the Olympic flag was passed from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo during the closing ceremony on August 21, the host of the next Games provided a glimpse of what athletes and spectators can expect when the XXXII Olympiad gets underway in the Japanese capital. The presentation began with a fast-paced sporting and cultural video tour of the host city, with an appearance by Prime Minister Abe, said to be running late on his trip to Rio.
With the help of some video trickery, the Japanese leader morphed into the popular video game character, Super Mario, before jumping into a deep tunnel. Seconds later, he popped up in his Super Mario costume at the other end of the “tunnel” in the middle of the Maracana, prompting gasps from the crowd. In addition to delighting the audience, Prime Minister Abe’s surprise appearance underscored just how deep Japan’s commitment is to hosting the Games. As with the rest of the futuristic preview, it also hinted at the innovation, originality and creativity that we can expect from Tokyo in 2020.
The sporting program for Tokyo 2020 certainly has an innovative feel. A global audience will have an opportunity to watch a record 33 sports, including five new additions: baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing. The well-balanced combination of new sports puts an emphasis on youth and will add an urban feel to the Games.
The IOC is expected to vote on the 2024 host in September 2017, according to Sports Illustrated (Aug. 21, 2016), and there is a good chance the winning bid will go to Los Angeles. Early budget figures place L.A.'s outlays at about a third of the $15 billion that Tokyo will spend. A favorable vote will likely mean a chance for next-door neighbor Inglewood to gain some of the glory, as the new L.A. Rams home stadium—set to open in 2019—will already be well established.
Will “2024 Olympic Games” become another milestone added to Inglewood’s list of achievements? Like the countless stories of those who overcame struggles against all odds to compete in the Olympics, anything is possible.