BidWeek, Reporting from Toronto, Canada – Wednesday marked the 100-days-to-go milestone for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The date passed with a mere blip on the radar of most sports fans, but in the Olympic inner-circle where planning for a Games can run over a nine-year span, milestones are cherished and commemorated.
The Olympic torch relay continued through to Athens this week but at the 100-day mark the flame was ceremoniously handed over to Rio organizers from officials in Greece at the Panathenaic Stadium.
Around the world national Olympic committees organized 100-day celebrations, especially those that are campaigning to host the next Games to be sited in 2024. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) organized a Times Square party in New York where athletes, sponsors and dignitaries – including an appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama – gathered to celebrate Team USA and the LA 2024 Olympic Games bid.
In Budapest, the Chain Bridge over the Danube River was brightly lit with the Brazilian colours green and yellow.
In Paris, French athletes celebrated the occasion at the Eiffel Tower while the monument was lit with the day’s trending colours and a nod to Rio.
Rome’s bid for the Games Tweeted an inspirational Olympic video set to David Bowie’s “Heroes” soundtrack.
— Roma 2024 (@roma2024) April 27, 2016
The next 100 days will be a challenge for Games organizers as finishing touches are still required for venues including the velodrome, and repairs are required for a raised bicycle path that collapsed last week, killing two people. There is still a big question mark on the timing of the opening of a critical subway link intended to connect the Olympic Park with the downtown area, and the Trump hotel that is intended to house trainers, coaches and other key personnel is not yet complete.
Add a presidential impeachment and a world health alert surrounding the Zika virus and it’s pretty much business-as-usual as Games preparations go. Reference Sochi, Turin, Athens and many other past Games and you’ll see the 100-day mark comes with a laundry list of deficiencies where perseverance is required. It’s understandable for the organization of the biggest event in the world.
Still, so much has been done since the day in Copenhagen almost seven years ago when Rio was elected host city – the first ever in South America.
Also on Wednesday U.S. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump blamed Obama’s trip to Copenhagen that day in 2009 for Chicago’s failure to bring the Games back to the U.S. this year instead of Brazil. He says he has strategies that will win respect for the U.S. so there will be more success in the future. Yet, back in Rio, his hotel remains incomplete and a risk to the overall success of the Games.
Meanwhile there seemed to by even more focus on the subsequent Olympic Games set to be held in Tokyo in 2020. The organizing committee selected its official logo from a final-four list and the solid indigo blue color chequered design immediately drew criticism across the Twitter-verse.
Once again, logo criticism is a requisite part of any Games’ official emblem launch, with almost every Olympic visual identity in the recent past receiving its fair share of knocks. Notably in advance of the London 2012 Games, a logo launch video reportedly triggered epileptic seizures and had to be withdrawn.
And Tokyo had the pleasure of experiencing such launches twice. An initial logo design had to be replaced when organizers were accused of copyright infringement and faced litigation, even as critics tore apart the nontraditional design.
With any logo, the look and feel takes time and branding before it becomes a comfortably recognizable representation. The London 2012 logo, and the Games, went on to great success.
As for Tokyo’s latest offering, it is a bit challenging to embrace at first glance. But even just hours after its launch, my acceptance with it grew. It turns out the new design, whether intentionally or not, is a nostalgic nod to the monochrome symmetrical roundish geometric Olympic logos we came to love in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and in a decade where throwback team uniforms and logos in sport are prevalent – maybe the Tokyo designers got it right.
Tokyo’s offering bears a striking resemblance to Munich’s 1972 spiral logo – a style that carried through with roundish symmetrical designs for both Sarajevo 1984 and Calgary 1988. Simple single-color designs were used for Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Lake Placid 1984 before more multi-color iconic logos came into vogue.
What does this all mean? Nothing, really. It’s only a logo after all. You’ll buy the t-shirts, read the logo-covered program and whenever you see blue checks, you’ll think of Tokyo 2020. Trust me.