Top Stories from Tokyo: Olympics Wrap-Up

Top Stories from Tokyo: Olympics Wrap-Up

The world met at the Tokyo Olympics to compete. Here's what we learnt about the power languages, cultures and connection.
August 24 2021

33 sports. 339 medals. 206 countries. 11,000 athletes. Nearly 100 language interpreters. The Olympics Games threw up an unforgettable mix of languages, cultures and competition in Tokyo. And you still have the Paralympics to enjoy!

Since it went so quickly, here are our favourite stories from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


Japan made a Kimono for every country at Olympic Games

Japanese Kimono Project

Japan’s Kimono Project saw all 206 participating countries receive their own unique Kimono (a traditional Japanese garment).

Each country’s Kimono reflects that country’s unique history, culture and values. Meaning that flag colours, historical achievements, and geography appear on these beautiful fabric designs. The aim is to “Connect with the world by reflecting the pride of each country in the world”.

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Language interpreters made the games run smoothly


Olympics language interpreters


Although English and French are the official languages of the International Olympic Committee, and Japanese is the language of the host country... These weren’t the only languages spoken in Tokyo.

A group of almost 100 language interpreters used their linguistic superpowers to ensure nothing was lost in translation. Imagine missing your race? Or not being able to say a few words after winning Gold? No chance: the interpreters translated the following languages (see below list) back and forth between athletes, judges, fans, and media.

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Do you know the meaning of the Paralympic Symbol? 

Paralympic Symbol

The Tokyo Paralympic Games are almost here! But before settling in to watch when they start on 24 August: Have you ever thought about the Paralympic symbol?

The three crescent shapes (called ‘Agitos’ from the Latin ‘I move’) encircle an invisible centre point to symbolise movement, and the union of athletes from each corner of the globe in competition. The red, blue, and green agitos colours show the three most common colours depicted on the world’s flags.

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Watching with interest? 🍿Here’s the correct language you should use to talk about your Paralympic heroes:

  • An athlete who is competing (or has in the past) in any Paralympic games = ‘Paralympian’ or ‘Paralympic athlete’

NOT ‘Para Olympian’ or ‘Former Paralympian’ 

  • Each event is a ‘Paralympic sport’

NOT ‘Para Olympic Sport’

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