Reading through the simplification measures proposed for Tokyo 2020 shows how complex the task of organising the Olympic and Paralympic Games really is.
Even the most minute of details must be considered. Following two days of virtual meetings, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 have now decided on whether all of these details are strictly necessary. Postponement has caused the cost of the Games to rocket, and organisers have aimed to scrimp where they can.
So, if the Olympics and Paralympics do indeed take place in 2021, what can athletes, officials, viewers and the media expect?
Firstly, the number of officials attending the Games will be reduced by 10 to 15 per cent. This will subsequently result in less money spent of food, drink and transportation. For officials who do attend, the menu for the "Olympic and Paralympic Family" hospitality lounges will be simplified, and some will have to take public transportation to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The number of complimentary tickets for the Ceremonies is also set to be reduced.
For the athletes, the team welcome ceremonies upon arrival at the Athletes’ Village will not happen. The athlete gift programme has been reduced, and part of the accommodation support service for athletes’ friends and family has been cancelled. The opening of training venues, and the Main Press Centre, will be delayed.
When it comes to competing, no changes will be made that will affect athlete performance. It all may look less spectacular than Olympic fans are used to, however, with "flashy presentation" and special effects such as fireballs set to be avoided.
There is also likely to be less of a party atmosphere in the Japanese capital and other cities. It may be quite rare to see Tokyo 2020 signage and banners around the country, while the content, scale and format of the Nippon Festival is being reviewed. Live sites, which will allow visitors to watch the action on big screens in different locations, may be simplified, and spectator activities at competition venues adjusted.
Other measures include hosting a number of pre-Games meetings online, the reduction of Tokyo 2020 office space and adjusting the shift schedule of existing volunteers, instead of recruiting new ones to replace those who have withdrawn.
In essence, Tokyo 2020 will be a "no-frills" Olympic and Paralympic Games. IOC Coordination Commission chair John Coates has already branded it the "Tokyo Model", a phrase that will no doubt be repeated often in the coming years.
"The 'Tokyo Model' will not only deliver a Games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future Organising Committees for many years to come," Coates said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been a watershed moment for sport in many ways, and Coates’ words suggest it might prove to have a long-lasting impact on the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Will all Games be scaled back and low-key affairs from now on?
This is a situation which has been forced upon the IOC, but oddly, the pandemic may have provided the perfect solution to one of the organisation’s biggest concerns - anti-Olympic sentiment.
This does not just encompass those who repeatedly criticise the IOC and the Games on social media. Anti-Olympic sentiment has proved to be the downfall for a number of bids for both the Summer and Winter Games.
Most recently, an initial field of seven candidates for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics was condensed to two after a series of withdrawals, with bids from Calgary in Canada, Sion in Switzerland and Innsbruck in Austria all scuppered by referendum defeats.
Indeed, Calgary, which hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, became the ninth straight Olympic bid city to lose a referendum when its residents voted against the candidacy in November 2018.
Munich dropped out of the race for the 2022 Winter Olympics, eventually awarded to Beijing, after a referendum defeat, while Hamburg exited the process for the 2024 Summer Olympics after a poll was also lost in the city.
Opposition to hosting the Games brought an end to bids for the 2024 contest from both Budapest and Boston, and it can still be found in host cities such as Tokyo and Paris.
Reasons for this opposition are varied but concerns over cost are the most common. The Olympics is now perceived to be an extravagant waste of money by many.
When looking over the simplification measures, it is easy to see how this perception has emerged. Light shows and flame machines are not a necessity but are likely paid for by public funds. Surely IOC money has more worthy destinations then the accommodation and dining habits of its members?
There has been some awareness of this issue from the IOC, with the high cost of the bidding process addressed by Agenda 2020. This did not really focus on the cost of the Games, however, and now the pandemic has forced the hand of both the IOC and other key stakeholders.
If the plans for Tokyo 2020 are anything to go by, it seems as if next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games will be stripped of the unnecessary luxuries and be an event where the sporting action is the main focus, plain and simple.
As Coates suggested, these cost-cutting measures and the so-called Tokyo Model could become the norm. If the extravagance of the Games does indeed disappear over the coming years, it will be interesting to see whether the same happens to anti-Olympic sentiment.