IOC President Thomas Bach and Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, gave an online pep talk Monday to national Olympic committee representatives to allay fears about the postponed games.
About 200 national Olympic committees are expected to be represented next year in Tokyo. Organizers held an English-speaking session on Monday for chefs de mission, with French and Spanish sessions scheduled for later in the week.
These sessions have been typically held in the host city and were held in Tokyo before the Olympics were postponed.
“The fact that I can only greet you virtually is itself a reflection of the unprecedented situation we all are facing,” Bach said in his brief, pre-recorded opening remarks to the three-hour meeting.
The session was not open to the media.
Bach assured the delegates that Tokyo was preparing for every eventuality, but acknowledged it may be months before the contours of the postponed Olympics will be clear.
‘Countermeasures for every possible scenario’
“Even in these ever-changing times, many of the operation details that are on top of all chefs de mission’s minds are still being worked on,” Bach said. “But please rest assured that we are focused on developing a tool box of COVID countermeasures for every possible scenario.”
Bach again called Tokyo “the best prepared Olympic city.”
Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, said he was aware of the “anxiety” the postponement had created. But he spoke optimistically that Tokyo can pull it off.
“You will no doubt be most affected by the various anti-corona measures that will be put in place,” he said.
Details yet to be revealed
Tokyo organizers have said exact details about how more than 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes can compete safely in Tokyo — and the presence of thousands more officials, staff members and media — will be not revealed until later this year, or well into 2021.
This also includes questions about whether fans will be allowed at the venues, and if non-Japanese fans will be permitted to attend at all.
Bach repeated that on-going developments of rapid tests and vaccines “gives us all good reason for cautious optimism.”
Tokyo to host international gymnastics event
Tokyo will host an international gymnastics tournament on Nov. 8, the Japan Gymnastics Association (JGA) has said, an event which could serve as a trial run for next year’s rearranged Olympic Games.
The event is sanctioned by the International Gymnastics Federation and will feature 32 athletes from Japan, China, Russia and the United States.
A maximum of 2,000 fans would be allowed to attend the one-day event at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, the venue for the handball tournament at the Games, which were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The JGA said during an online media briefing on Monday that all gymnasts arriving from overseas would have to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours prior to their departure for Japan.
Japan’s 14-day quarantine period would be waived but they would be tested each day they are in Japan, it added.
Other international sporting events scheduled to be held in Japan in the coming months, including the Judo Tokyo Grand Slam and the Tokyo Marathon, have been canceled or postponed due to restrictions on travel.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said organizers expected to welcome spectators from around the world at next year’s games.=