Yes, the Olympic marathon will be held in 2021, as announced by the International Olympic Committee. The new date of the Tokyo Olympic Games will be July 23, 2021, and culminates on August 8 with the Olympic marathon.
The Games were suspended in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which affected the performance of massive sports activities since mid-March, preventing athletes from training and even attending major competitions to seek their best Olympic record.
The Olympic marathon will be run in Sapporo and not in Tokyo
The games were postponed to the summer of 2021. In the case of the Olympic Marathon, the organization has confirmed that it will be held in the city of Sapporo, in northern Japan, to avoid the summer heat in the Japanese capital.
The race will have three laps on the same circuit. The first will be much longer than the rest, as it will cross the Toyohira River, while the second and third turns will repeat part of the initial route.
The circuit will begin and end at Sapporo Odori Park in the city center. The controversial decision to move the Tokyo Marathon to Sapporo was made in November 2019 before the Games were postponed one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The tests in most sports are scheduled to take place between April and May 2021. They will be used to evaluate the measures to be implemented as part of the emergency plan for Covid-19.
The measures that must be taken to avoid contagion of Covid-19 while the Tokyo Olympic Games are being held, will have an additional cost that can be around 800 million euros, according to the Japanese media recently revealed.
As stated by Jakob Larsen, World Athletics Director of Competitions and Events, who approved the circuit, “Sapporo has a rich experience in road races, especially marathons, and we want to inspire fans from all over the world to come to the city. for their future massive careers. ”
One of the reasons for moving the Olympic marathon from the city was the high temperatures expected for summer 2020 in Tokyo. This is so as not to repeat the bulky desertions and dramatic arrivals of athletes at the World Athletics Championships held in Doha (Qatar) in October 2019, when due to high temperatures many runners had to receive medical attention in hot and humid conditions.
The Tokyo 2020 organization was not very fond of the idea of moving the Olympic marathon but finally ended up yielding to pressure from the International Olympic Committee.
The first Olympic marathon
Greece is the cradle of Olympism. The first games of the Modern Age were organized in Athens in 1896 and were held in the Panathinaikó Stadium, commonly known as the “Marble Stadium”, which was built approximately four centuries BC.
According to the award-winning Spanish athlete Tomas Barris, in the case of the Olympic marathon, the organizers of these games had to decide the ideal distance for this event, choosing the 39 kilometers between the city of Marathon and Athens. On the eve of these games, Pierre de Coubertín suggested to Michel Bréal that this event be named after the legendary battle “Marathon”.
Barris explains that the winner of the first Olympic marathon was Spyridon Louis, a humble Greek shepherd, with a time of 3:18:27. Surprisingly, Louis had only run a preselection marathon a month earlier, in the Greek capital, finishing fifth.