Olympics postponed: What does this mean for ticket lottery winners?

An individual walks past promotional images of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on Tuesday, the day the IOC announced the Games would be postponed until 2021.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Hironobu Yamashita was disappointed

“But it can’t be helped,” he said in Japanese.

He found humor in his practicality.

“I know that’s a very Japanese reaction,” he said with a chuckle.

Yamashita, a sports reporter for Asahi Shimbun, was one of the so-called lucky ones.

One of the 7.5 million residents who applied last year for a ticket lottery, he won the opportunity to buy a single pass for the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.

In the end, the International Olympic Committee had no other choice but to postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

March 24, 2020

The price was more than $2,000.

Yamashita called a family meeting, after which it was decided to buy the ticket and not take a vacation in the summer.

Figuring it was “pointless for an adult to go,” he and his wife gave the ticket to their 15-year-old daughter, Kanade.


“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Yamashita said by phone from Tokyo. “We thought it would be a good experience for her.”

With the 2020 Olympics postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Yamashita was hoping on Tuesday night that she would still have that chance, as he didn’t know whether the ticket he purchased would still be honored.

Olympic athletes and sports federations react to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games being officially postponed until 2021.

March 24, 2020

“If we have to reapply for tickets, I’ll doubt we’ll win again,” he said.

Yamashita’s work schedule also has been disrupted. He was scheduled to cover the national baseball invitational tournament this month, but the event was canceled.