Less than 24 hours after the official announcement of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021, Thomas Bach was on Wednesday at the heart of a conference call bringing together 400 journalists. The opportunity to take stock of the events that have accelerated in recent days and have led the International Olympic Committee to take the decision of a postponement, a first in peacetime since the inaugural edition of the Games of the era modern in 1896.
The key elements of the decision: “What made us decide to postpone it was the development of the Covid-19 pandemic. We monitor this 24/7. On the one hand we were confident about the measures which would have made it possible to organize the Games and on the other hand doubts have grown that the world is not ready. But last Saturday, we saw in particular the figures and the start of the epidemic in Africa, the dynamic development in South America, the United States and other countries. That day, we organized an emergency meeting to open discussions with the Japanese organizers. We could not take action without the full support of Japan. The result of the discussion was that Japan was ready to discuss the different scenarios. Monday morning, the news from WHO was rather alarmist, the spread was accelerating, we contacted the organizing committee a second time in view of the development and proposed the decision to postpone. It could not be the choice of the IOC but the fruit of a total agreement with Japan. ”
The question of cancellation: “Of course, the question of a cancellation was discussed and studied, but it was very clear from the start that the cancellation of the Olympic Games was never a priority, because our mission is to 'organize the Games and make the athletes' dream possible.'
“These Games will require sacrifice and compromise on the part of all parties”Thomas bach
A “Task Force” set up: “A“ taskforce ”(working group) has been set up. to study, to evaluate. She went to work on Tuesday. One of its first missions will be to contact the 33 international federations present at the Tokyo Olympics. So that Tokyo is the city that has been best prepared. I have no doubt about the collaboration. We can make wonderful Olympics together. ”
What about the sponsors: "It is logical that the sponsors of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 retain their rights, even if these Games are organized in 2021."
The symbolic and complicated case of the Olympic Village: “The Village is one of the thousands of questions to be answered. The Village is the heart of the Games. We are faced with an unprecedented situation. An unprecedented challenge. For the Village, as in other areas, we must find the best solutions. The Village is a unique experience, the roof of the world, to celebrate and live the Olympic experience. ”
The calendar of the Olympic Games in 2021: "The agreement stipulates that we want to organize the Olympic Games at the latest in the summer of 2021, this means that the task force can consider that it is not restricted to the summer, that it’s not just about the summer months. All options are on the table, before and during the summer of 2021. The International Federations will continue their work on the calendar. The first step is to see with them what the options are. We must also take into account the sports calendar around the Olympic Games. (Euro football and Copa America, planned for 2020, have already been postponed to 2021). Everyone must be involved. These Games will require sacrifice and compromise on the part of all parties. I am pleased that Prime Minister Abe has committed to do whatever is necessary on his side. The International Olympic Committee will do the same. Like the athletes who will have to adapt. I hope everyone will make an effort to make these Games the symbol of hope that they can and should be. ”
- Postponement of the Games to keep the party intact