Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Tokyo 2020 Is Trying To Hide Its Use Of Unpaid Workers By Calling Them Its "Field Cast"

Illustration for article titled Tokyo 2020 Is Trying To Hide Its Use Of Unpaid Workers By Calling Them Its Field Cast
Photo: Eugene Hoshiko (Associated Press)

With less than two years to go until the Olympics and already several billion dollars over budget, the Tokyo Olympic organizers have unveiled their plan for hiding the reliance on volunteers to perform the basic services for athletes and fans at the Olympic Village and at the competition venues: call them the “Field Cast” and “City Cast.”


Doesn’t that sound like fun? They’re being cast into a role of a lifetime—working for free while the IOC and TV networks rake in billions of dollars.

“Field Cast” beat out three other contenders. Per the Japan Times:

Prospective volunteers had until Jan. 20 to vote for one of four proposed nicknames, which also included “Games Anchor,” “Games Force” and “Shining Blue.” Field Cast received 16,187 of the 37,739 votes, while Shining Blue was the second-most popular with 10,328.


The IOC maybe a wholly undemocratic institution that is comprised of royals and other rich people of dubious credentials, but at least they allowed the volunteers to vote on their own euphemism. Let freedom ring!

Most of the time, however, the forces of democracy work against the IOC, as in every single referendum held by potential host cities to determine whether they wanted to host this dog-and-pony show to begin with. When given the opportunity to vote, citizens have repeatedly and roundly rejected the IOC.

Tokyo doesn’t only plan to use volunteers for unskilled tasks, like giving attendees directions; they’re planning to use them to do highly skilled things, like serving as foreign language interpreters.

Tokyo is hardly the first host city to call their volunteers something else in order to obscure the fact that so many of the people working at the Games are getting nothing more than a T-shirt for their time and effort. At the 2012 Olympics in London, the volunteers were called “Games Makers.” And at the most recent Games in Pyeongchang, they were called the “Passion Crew.” Because nothing shows your passion more than doing a job for free.

Dvora Meyers is a staff writer at Deadspin.

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