While choosing the host country for the Olympics, the IOC prefers to hand it over to a particular city of that country. In general, there have been 28 Summer Olympic Games held in 23 cities.
Asia has hosted the Summer Olympics three times already, with the next edition to be held in the continent as well, in Tokyo this year. Let us take a look at the different Asian countries that have hosted the Summer Olympics till now.
#1 Tokyo: 1964, 2021
Japan has been an enthusiastic participant in the Olympic Games since early times. Although Tokyo eagerly promoted to host the 1940 Olympics, it was subsequently passed to Helsinki due to Japan's invasion of China. Eventually, the Games was canceled due to World War II.
However, it was in 1964 that Tokyo was designated to be the host of the 18th Summer Olympic Games. This international multi-sporting event was held from 10th to 24th October. It was an important landmark event as it speeded up Japan's economic growth in the post-WWII period. Moreover, this was the first time the Summer Olympic Games was held in Asia.
In the same year, Tokyo organized the Summer Paralympics. The Tokyo Games attracted over 5500 participants from 94 nations, who competed in 19 sports. Also, it was at this edition that a native Japanese sport named 'Judo' was introduced in the Olympics.
Tokyo will also host the 2020 Summer Olympics in 2021, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will make Tokyo the first city and Japan the first country in Asia to host the Summer Olympics twice.
The 1988 Summer Olympics, also known as the XXIV Olympiad, was held from 17th September to 2nd October in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea thus became the second Asian country to host the Summer Olympics. A total of 158 nations were represented by 8391 athletes in 23 sports in this edition.
North Korea had offered to be a joint host with South Korea and demanded that 11 out of the 23 Olympic sports should be carried out in its territory. However, IOC did not give in to the demands of North Korea and offered it only half of its desired sporting events. Eventually, North Korea and Cuba boycotted the Games.
#3 Beijing: 2008
The 2008 Summer Olympics was known as the XXIX Olympiad, which was held from 8th to 24th August in Beijing, China. This was the first time China hosted the Olympics and it became the third Asian country, after Japan and South Korea, to host the Summer Games. A total of 10,942 athletes from 204 NOC's (National Olympic Committee) competed in 28 sports.
Beijing was elected to be the official host country in 2001, defeating bids from Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, and Osaka. The Republic of China promoted the Games extensively and invested heavily in new sports facilities and transport systems.
In total, 31 venues were used to host the event out of which 12 were newly constructed for the 2008 Games. Notably, this was one of the most expensive Summer Games.
In 2022, Beijing has been elected to host the Winter Olympic Games, making it the first city that has held both the Summer and the Winter Games.