All you need to know about an Olympic Test Event

With one of the most exciting Olympic Test Events starting today, the Oi Hockey Stadium will prove its readiness for Tokyo 2020 hockey matches. But what exactly is a “Test Event”? Let us help you understand...

In a nutshell, Test Events are sporting competitions held prior to an Olympic Games.

They often take place a year in advance of the Olympic competition to give enough time for the hosts to check and sort any issues with the playing conditions and infrastructure readiness. They also enlighten athletes with what’s in store.

For the 2020 Olympic Games, the host city’s “Ready Steady Tokyo” campaign began in July 2019, and today (Saturday 17th August) is the start of the hockey test.

These events help athletes plan and understand their preparations before the quadrennial multi-sport event and provide a clear perspective, in advance, to the host city for conducting the Games.

This set up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) paves the way for determining the readiness of the venues, for the smooth functioning of disciplines, as well as allowing room for trial and error.

Let’s look more at the importance of the Olympic Test Events this time around.

 A view of Odaiba Marine Park during the Marathon Swimming Test Event
 A view of Odaiba Marine Park during the Marathon Swimming Test Event A view of Odaiba Marine Park during the Marathon Swimming Test Event

Dress Rehearsal

A test event ahead of the Olympics has proven to be fruitful both sides.

Participative hopefuls get to study playing conditions before testing their real strength at the main event.

And for the organising hosts, this serves as a good dress rehearsal to get a sense of how smooth their operations will be when the Games kick off next year.

The IOC, which is also involved with the state of readiness, oversees climatic conditions and other factors to analyse if the athletes could be well suited to perform in the host city. Over the past few editions of the Olympics, these Test Events have played an integral part in the run-up to the big opening day.

One Year to Tokyo 2020

After successful test events conducted at Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016, Tokyo has now paved the way for test events post-construction of some of their main venues ahead of the Games. 56 events in total are to be held under the aegis of the ‘Ready Steady Tokyo’ brand name for the test events and will go on until May 2020.

 Ready Steady Tokyo at the Test Event for Surfing
 Ready Steady Tokyo at the Test Event for Surfing Ready Steady Tokyo at the Test Event for Surfing

Some unofficial test events were organised as early as 2018 by various federations, but the first one to be conducted by the Tokyo Organising Committee was in July 2019 with weightlifting.

The hockey test event is scheduled between August 17-21 where countries like India are optimistic they'll gain confidence in the discipline with a little less than a year to go.

The Oi Hockey Stadium is hosting some of the top men's and women's hockey teams preparing for Olympic qualification.

The Test Event Schedule

Since the weightlifting test event in July this year, the momentum has carried on to disciplines like the modern pentathlon, archery, and cycling.

 Minhao Huang of China participates in the weightlifting test event
 Minhao Huang of China participates in the weightlifting test event Minhao Huang of China participates in the weightlifting test event

Then there was the recently concluded equestrian event in the second week of August, and one of the most revealing tests was in the sport of surfing, which makes an Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

The months that follow will see karate, canoe (sprint), powerlifting, and taekwondo in September, while wrestling, cycling (mountain bike and BMX racing), canoe (slalom), and boxing would wrap up by October 2019.

The rest of the disciplines after a break in October 2019 are scheduled to resume in March 2020 going all the way to the last of the scheduled tests in the month of May.

For the full schedule and more details, check our guide to the Games in Japan or visit the Tokyo 2020 website.

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