In September 2013 (!) Tokyo defeated Madrid and Istanbul in the match between aspiring Olympic cities. At the time, 2020 seemed as far away as 1964, the year that Tokyo was previously an Olympic host.
Now I hear you thinking: ‘summer 2020, that’s still almost one year from now?‘ Sure, that’s right, but for an Olympic fan preparation start already now. In my blogs I will describe these preparations as a fanatic Olympic supporter, share my own Olympic experiences and offer tips and advice.
But the aim is above all to have fun and to share. The Olympics are, just like for athletes, also for sports fans the ultimate. Why? What is that “Olympic Fan Feeling” (OFF)? That feeling you get in the run-up to those 2 weeks, that feeling that dominates an entire city during those two Olympic weeks. Yes, that feeling that is so strong that you’ll enjoy it long after the flame has extinguished!
My first Games
My very first games took place in Athens in 2004. Historically, of course, a well-chosen first destination. I had finally decided to experience that Olympic Fan Feeling. Together with a friend who was also sports crazy enough to go along on this trip.
An Olympic adventure that brought us from Athens to Torino (2006), Beijing (2008), London (2012), Sochi (2014) and Rio (2016). And for sure to Tokyo (2020), Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028). And all further Games until (at least) our 80th birthday!
But always, and certainly in the beginning, the opinions and warnings are clear: “Do not go. Don’t do it”
1-It is life-threatening. The Games are the main target for terrorist attacks. Think of Munich (1972) and Atlanta (1996) (All Games)
2-It is still life-threatening. If you already have survived point 1. There are plenty of other local dangers; pollution of water, viruses (ZIKA) and armed robbery gangs (Rio 2016)
3-It is priceless. You will only find hotels that cost at least 300 euros per night and a cup of coffee is more expensive than in Monaco (including London, Sochi)
4-You are being scammed. Your hotel does not exist, the tickets are fake, and the taxi drivers take you to the wrong suburbs where you are robbed and/or murdered. (Athens, Beijing, Rio, London, yes everywhere in fact)
5-You do not get tickets. Or you get fake ones which will costs 4 times the original price. And if you are still able to lay your hands on a ticket, your name is not on it and you are still refused or worse: thrown into jail.
Not to mention the rest: the heat, the lack of hospitality, the politics, the logistics drama, etc.
Well, it was also the message in 2004: Do Not Go. But I am so glad that I have not listened! And I am still glad that I don’t listen every 2 or 4 years. This ‘disobedience‘ has delivered unforgettable memories!
The Olympic Games are unique
Because, one thing is certain; The Olympic Games are one of a kind. I no longer believe in world peace, but if there is a place and moment I still do, then it is during those two Olympic weeks.
It’s all about sport, everywhere. Sport unites. And Olympic sports fans are entertaining. Everyone has lived up to this, is enthusiastic and enjoys himself. This makes sense, since there is such a large high-end sport density that it takes your breath away and makes you end up feeling high on sports all that time.
Attending as many unique sports events as possible has become an Olympic Sports discipline in itself. Not to mention the athletes. Years, or rather, lives of preparation that lead to that one moment of invincibility. But even more often it leads to near misses or complete failure.
The difference between winning and losing is sometimes one thousandth of a second. One inch that will give athletes a lifetime of admiration or an inch that will continue to haunt them. Athletes who want to give up all their world titles for that one gold medal. Without Olympic gold or even just Olympic participation, their sports career is not complete.
My sporting career was limited to amateur football, so that Olympic participation would remain a distant dream for me. Or not? Since I couldn’t participate myself …I still could be a witness!
Witnessing as many moments as possible where those sports dreams come true. And so, over the past 14 years, I have been picking up my suitcase on my way to the Games, on my way to my place in the stands. For that unique Olympic Fan Feeling. And time and time again I watched the Olympic Sandman. Whom will he throw the winning sand in the eyes? Who of all these athletes would see his dream come true that evening? Winning gold and achieving immortality?
I also dare to take this statement: As a sports fan, your sport-follow career is not complete without at least one Olympic participation. Through the upcoming blogs I hope to give a glimmer of this “Olympic Fan Feeling” as inspiration or entertainment in the run-up to Tokyo 2020. With my own Olympic experiences and anecdotes about topics such as the Preparations, the Planning, the choices which events to visit, the hunt for tickets and the search for a good place to stay and so on, and so on.
The simple truth is that as a fan you are just as well part of that Olympic dream; just like the volunteers, the journalists, the supervisors and the athletes! It’s that composition of Olympians that makes the Games as they are: unique.
In the meantime, to kill the time up to 2020 and inspire each other, you can share your Olympic Fan Feeling. Below or via my mail; Fanofthegames@hotmail.com. Or keep reading these blogs and who knows, I’ll see you in Tokyo!