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  • Writer's picturecameraman hong kong

Tokyo 2020. Behind closed doors.

They were the games that almost didn't happen, but they did. Having attended the Sydney Olympics way back in 2000 (I was working as a video journalist for a national broadcaster at the time) I was excited to see what Tokyo would be like especially given all thats going on in the world today. The lead up to the games, the doubt, the pandemic.

It was so interesting to be part of such a massive organisation that is the Olympic Broadcasting Services, so many people, so much kit, so many moving parts. I was working for OCN (Olympic Channel News) shooting and editing feature stories on the venues I was assigned to (the tennis and briefly football) the job also involved covering the athletes post-match interviews in the mixed zone.

For the first 14 days we were only allowed to stay at the hotel (like all visitors I believe) eating at either the hotel or the venues we were assigned to. We travelled on Busses separate from the general public, delivered directly to the hotel after our shifts. We were tested every 3 days (supplying a PCR test at the venue which was logged into a database incase of any issues) and only after 14 days were we allowed to travel around Tokyo, catch public transport and visit restaurants, shops and other places of interest. Everyone played by the rules.

Having experienced the atmosphere in Sydney all I can say is that I felt really sorry for Japan and the Japanese people for not being able to host these games under normal circumstances. The energy of an Olympic city is amazing and you don't have to be in a stadium to feel it. Everything is lively. The restaurants are heaving, the streets are full of color, people from all nationalities having fun and enjoying themselves.

I really hope Tokyo gets a chance to host another massive event sometime in the future so the world can see what a great city it is and get to visit some of the venues that were built.

Justin Weily is a freelance cameraman and producer based in Hong Kong and owner / operator of Varicam 35, Varicam LT and Panasonic EVA cameras.


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