Issue Date: 26 May 2021
Designer: Triin Heimann
Sheet Composition: 25 stamps
Stamp Size: 29.1 x 40.8 mm
Printing Method: Offset lithography
Perforation: 13¾ x 14
Printer: AS Vaba Maa
Quantity: 30,000 stamps
The XXXII summer Olympic Games will take place from 23 July to 8 August in the capital of Japan, Tokyo. They were originally scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, but for the first time in the history of Olympic Games, the sports event was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is the first city in Asia to host the summer games twice.
This is the 13th time Estonia has participated in the games as an independent country. The first Estonian Olympic medal winner was wrestler Martin Klein who represented the Russian Empire in Stockholm in 1912. The first Olympic medal winner to represent the Republic of Estonia was weightlifter Alfred Neuland in Antwerp in 1920. In total, Estonia has won 26 gold, 22 silver and 29 bronze medals.
The 2020 Summer Olympics (2020年夏季オリンピック, Hepburn: Nisen Nijū-nen Kaki Orinpikku), officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (第三十二回オリンピック競技大会, Dai Sanjūni-kai Orinpikku Kyōgi Taikai), and also known as Tokyo 2020 (東京2020, Tōkyō ni-zero-ni-zero), will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Formerly scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, the event was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not allow international spectators. Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020 name for marketing and branding purposes. This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.
In January 2020, concerns were raised about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on athletes and visitors to the Olympic Games. Tokyo organizers insisted they were monitoring the spread of the disease to minimize its effects on preparations for the Olympics. Unlike the case for Zika virus during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted directly between humans, posing tougher challenges for the organizers to counteract the infectious disease and host a safe and secure event. Also unlike the case for H1N1 “swine flu” during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, COVID-19 has a higher fatality rate, and there was no effective vaccine prior to December 2020.
In a February 2020 interview with City A.M., Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey argued that London would be able to host the Olympic Games at the former 2012 Olympic venues should the Games need to be moved because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike criticized Bailey’s comment as inappropriate. In early 2021, officials in the U.S. state of Florida offered to host the delayed games in their state, while John Coates the vice president of the International Olympic Committee in charge of the Tokyo Olympics, said the Games would open even if the city and other parts of Japan were under a state of emergency because of COVID-19.
Concerns about the pandemic began to affect qualifying events in early 2020. Some that were due to take place in February were moved to alternative locations to address concerns about travelling to the affected areas, particularly China. For example, the women’s basketball qualification was played in Belgrade, Serbia, instead of Foshan, China. The boxing qualification tournament was originally planned to be held in Wuhan, China, the center of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 3 to 14 February, but instead took place in Amman, Jordan, at the beginning of March. The third round of the women’s football qualification tournament was also affected, as the group matches originally scheduled to be held in China were moved to Australia. The European boxing qualification was held in London, United Kingdom, before it was suspended and is set to resume in June 2021 and has moved to Paris, France, affecting travel to the United Kingdom for its completion. Remaining qualifying events that were due to take place in March to June 2020 began to be postponed until later in the year and middle of 2021 as part of a wider suspension of international sporting competitions in response to the pandemic. A multitude of Olympic sports were affected, including archery, baseball, cycling, handball, judo, rowing, sailing, volleyball, and water polo.
Mandatory doping tests were being severely restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. European anti-doping organizations raised concerns that blood and urine tests could not be performed and that mobilizing the staff necessary to do so before the end of the pandemic would be a health risk. Despite the need for extensive testing to take place in advance of the Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stated that public health and safety was their topmost priority. The Chinese anti-doping agency temporarily ceased testing on 3 February 2020, with a planned resumption of phased testing towards the end of the month, and the anti-doping organizations in the United States, France, Great Britain, and Germany had reduced their testing activities by the end of March.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee (TOCOG) released a statement on 2 March 2020, confirming that preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics were “continuing as planned”. The following day, a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that the Games would proceed according to schedule. On 18 March, the IOC repeated its opposition to a delay or cancellation. On 23 March, both Canada and Australia indicated that they would withdraw from the Games if they were not postponed by a year. On the same day, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe stated he would support a proposed postponement, citing that ensuring athlete safety was “paramount”. That same day, veteran IOC member and former vice president Dick Pound told USA Today that he expected the Games to be postponed.
The IOC and TOCOG released a joint statement on 24 March 2020, announcing that the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics would be rescheduled to a date “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021”. They stated that the Games could “stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times”, and that the Olympic flame could become “the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present”. Prime Minister Abe stated that IOC president Thomas Bach responded “with 100% agreement” to his proposal to delay the Games. For continuity and marketing purposes, it was agreed that the Games would still be branded as Tokyo 2020 despite the change in scheduling. Although several Olympics have been cancelled by world wars, including the 1940 Summer Olympics (which were originally awarded to Tokyo), this marks the first Olympics to be postponed to a later date instead of being cancelled altogether.
On 30 March 2020, the IOC and TOCOG announced that they had reached an agreement on the new dates for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which would begin with the opening ceremony on 23 July 2021 and end with the closing ceremony on 8 August 2021. The subsequent Winter Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to begin on 4 February 2022, less than six months later. Shortly before the postponement was confirmed, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers formed a task force named “Here We Go” with the remit to address any issues arising from postponing the Games, such as sponsorship and accommodation. The organizers confirmed that all athletes who had already qualified for Tokyo 2020 would keep their qualification slots.
Health experts expressed concern in April 2020 that the Games might have to be cancelled if the pandemic should persist. In an interview with Japanese sports daily Nikkan Sports, former Organizing Committee president and Japanese prime minister Yoshirō Mori asserted that the Games would be “scrapped” if they could not go ahead in 2021. On 29 April, Prime Minister Abe stated that the Games “must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic”. Thomas Bach acknowledged in an interview with NBC Sports on 20 May 2020, that the job of reorganizing the Tokyo Games was “a mammoth task” and also admitted that the event would have to be cancelled altogether if it could not take place in the summer of 2021. However, both Bach and Mori expressed optimism about the Games going ahead. Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra and World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom also remained optimistic about the event being able to take place in 2021.
On 21 January 2021, multiple sources reported that the Japanese government had “privately concluded” that the Games would have to be cancelled. The government dismissed the claims, stating that the reports were “categorically untrue”. The new Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga confirmed on 19 February that the G7 — which also includes the UK prime minister Boris Johnson and new U.S. president Joe Biden — had given “unanimous” support for the postponed Games to go ahead as scheduled. It was reported in April 2021, just three months before the start of the Games, that there was still the option to cancel the Tokyo Olympics with the country having vaccinated less than 1% of its population, with tens of thousands of volunteers expected to take part and athletes not being required to quarantine after arriving in Japan. Prime Minister Suga dismissed these reports in a press conference with President Biden, who continues to support Suga’s determination to hold the Games.
On 18 May 2021 members of the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, “strongly” requested the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cancel the Olympics, citing that saying that hospitals were already full. A former candidate for Tokyo governor – Kenji Utsunomiya – has submitted a petition containing 351,000 signatures to the capital authorities asking the IOC organisers to “prioritize life” as opposed to the Olympic Games.
In February 2021, the IOC began releasing “playbooks” containing details on planned COVID-19 biosecurity protocols for athletes, officials, the press, and other staff, including standard protocols such as practicing social distancing, hygiene, the wearing of face masks (outside of training and competition for athletes), and being restricted from visiting bars, restaurants, shops, and other tourist areas, or using public transport unless otherwise permitted. Participants will be asked to use Japan’s COCOA Exposure Notification app and will be tested at least every four days. Athletes who test positive will be unable to compete and may be quarantined at a government facility (although leeway will be given in the event of false positives). Close contacts must also test negative in order to be cleared for competition. As the actions could spread infected droplets, athletes will be discouraged from “excessive” celebrations. Likewise, as per existing guidance for spectator sports in Japan, spectators will also be asked to refrain from cheering or shouting.
The IOC is recommending the vaccination of athletes if they are available, but vaccines will not be required, and the IOC is recommending against athletes “jumping the queue” in order to obtain priority over essential populations. On 12 March 2021, Thomas Bach announced that in nations where they are approved for use, the Chinese Olympic Committee had offered to cover the costs of the Chinese CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines for athletes competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2022 Winter Olympics, and purchase two doses for their nation’s general public for each vaccinated athlete.
According to an estimate conducted by professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto of Kansai University and reported by the NHK, the cost of delaying the 2020 Olympics by one year will be 640.8 billion yen (US$5.8 billion), taking maintenance expenditures for the unused facilities into account. A complete cancellation would cost Japan ¥4.52 trillion (US$41.5 billion), based on operating expenses and loss of tourism activity.
The Tokyo Games are protected through the commercial insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London, by global reinsurers Munich Re and Swiss Re. The IOC takes out around $800 million of insurance for each Summer Olympics, with the total amount of loss insured for the 2020 Games likely to be more than $2 billion. The disruption caused by postponing the Games is covered by the insurance policy; those likely to make claims for their financial losses include local organizers, sponsors, hospitality firms, and travel providers. The total loss amount will not become clear until the Games have actually taken place.
Estonia will compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics from 23 July to 8 August 2021. It will be the nation’s eighth consecutive appearance at the Games in the post-Soviet era and thirteenth overall in Summer Olympic history.
The Estonian Olympic Committee (Eesti Olümpiakomitee) is responsible for the Estonia’s participation in the Olympic Games. The Estonian Sports Federation (Eesti Spordi Liit) decided to form the Estonian Olympic Committee in the First Estonian Sport Congress (Eesti I Spordikongress) on 30 November 1919, one and a half years after the proclamation of the independence of Estonia, but it was officially founded on 8 December 1923. The first chairman of the committee Karl Friedrich Akel, was elected on 5 May 1924. An independent Estonian team took part in the Olympic Games over the period of 1920–36. After the nation was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1940, Estonian athletes competed at the Olympic Games as part of the USSR delegations.
The NOC was renewed on 14 January 1989 when the Estonian Olympic Sports Conference passed the following resolution: “to resume the activity of the Estonian Olympic Committee founded in 1923”. The continuity concept became the foundation of the activity of the restored Estonian Olympic Committee since, although it could not act ‘de facto‘ for 50 years, it never ceased its activity ‘de jure‘. On the same day, the first members of the renewed NOC were elected, Arnold Green and Atko Viru. On 20 August 1991 the independence of the Republic of Estonia was proclaimed and by decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, at the board session in Berlin on 18 September 1991, the EOK was reintegrated into the Olympic Movement on 11 November 1991.
In 1992 the IOC delegation led by president Juan Antonio Samaranch visited Estonia. Delegation members included Vice President of the IOC and Russian Olympic Committee president – Vitali Smirnov, IOC and Swedish Olympic Committee member – Gunnar Ericsson, President of the EOC – Jacques Rogge and Secretary General of the EOC and Italian National Olympic Committee – Mario Pescante.
The 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France was the first time since 1936 that the nation had competed as an independent nation at the Olympic Games. In the Games between, the Estonian athletes competed under the flag of the Soviet Union.