People around the world are divided on whether the Tokyo Olympics should go ahead
Football and athletics are the most popular events, but excitement about the Olympic Games is lacking in many countries.
With the approach of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, due to begin on 23rd July 2021, we asked people in 28 countries their views on the event: Should it go ahead? How interested are they personally? What is the impact of the Games on wider society?
Overall, support for the Olympics taking place in summer 2021 is muted, due in part to concerns over Covid-19. On average across the 28 countries surveyed, 43% say the event should go ahead, compared to 57% who say it shouldn’t. There is greatest support for the Olympics taking place as scheduled in Turkey (71%), Saudi Arabia (66%), Russia (61%) and Poland (60%).
Those in host nation Japan are among the most doubtful: 22% say the Olympics should go ahead while 78% say it shouldn’t. South Korea shows the lowest levels of support for the Games taking place (14%).
However, 62% worldwide agree that the Olympics will be an important opportunity for the world to come together following the pandemic. Turkey and Saudi Arabia once again show the highest levels of agreement with this statement (81% in both). South Korea, Japan and Germany are the only countries where fewer than 50% say that the Olympics presents this opportunity to come together.
We also find there is widespread agreement among the public that the Olympics (generally speaking) has a uniting power. Two-thirds (65%) agree that the Games ‘bring my country together’, rising to 92% in China and 84% in India. But this falls to 36% in Japan and 37% in Germany.
There is a mixed picture here, as majorities in 13 of the 28 countries surveyed are very/somewhat interested in the Olympics, but majorities in 15 countries are not very/not at all interested.