In a long interview with Thomas Bach, President of the I. O. C., said that“abolition is not on the agenda”, but it was too early to make a decision about transfer of the summer games in Tokyo.
Since the coronavirus swept the whole world, putting the city and the country to a standstill, cancelling calendar spring sports, and threatening every major event, scheduled for 2020, the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach did not hesitate in their determination to hold the summer games in Tokyo.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for July 24, when about 11 000 athletes and even more fans, volunteers, journalists, diplomats and others will come to Tokyo.
However, the complaints from athletes and other people associated with the Olympic games, especially in the countries most affected by this disease.
In an interview on Thursday, Bach recognized the increasingly alarming situation, but remained optimistic that the level of infection may be reduced so that the Game could develop.
“We affected by the crisis like everyone else, and we are concerned about, like everyone else, he said. —We don’t live in a bubble or on another planet. We are in the middle of our society“.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Is there a date when you have to decide will be whether the Olympic games in Tokyo?
What makes this crisis so unique and so difficult to overcome is uncertainty. No one today can tell you what will happen tomorrow, and what will happen in one month, not to mention more than four months. So he is not responsible to set the date or make the decision right now, which will be based on assumptions about future events.
But if you listen to scientists and epidemiologists, they do have a clear idea of what will happen in a month, given the trajectory of the disease and the nature of the infection. I’m surprised you say that no one knows what will happen, when in fact there is a large community of people who would say that we know exactly what will happen.
There are many different predictions. Some tell you that all will follow the same curve. Others say that it will take much more time. Others say that there will be different waves and we will have to live with it. That’s why we rely on our target group, including the world health organization, which tells us that it is too early to make a decision, and at the same time, we are closely watching what is happening.
Do you have a group that studies and analyzes the situation and what it will take to transfer Games in autumn, summer or 2021 summer 2022 or any other time frame that was discussed?
This will mean that we reflect on the events. We don’t know what the situation will be. Of course, we are considering various scenarios, but we contrary to many other sporting organizations or professional leagues that before the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 only four and a half months. They are even more optimistic than we are, because most of them have postponed their events until April or end of may. We’re talking about the end of July.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he is interested in the “perfect Games” and that he had a commitment from the other leaders of the group of Seven to do it, but he did not specify a time frame. It gives you the freedom to spend an alternative date?
After that, the Japanese government was asked this question (Abe made the comment), and the answer was that the delay was not mentioned at the meeting of the G7. For us it would not be a liability now, and it would be premature to start speculation or to make decisions in a time when we have no recommendations from the task force.
You said that the task force give you a recommendation to a specific date?
No, they’re the experts. They need to know, based on my scientific experience and worldwide review when they have enough information to give us their advice based on scientific evidence.
What can you say to people who say that you go not up with all that’s going on? All major sports events were cancelled or postponed?
They cancelled or postponed games on the next Saturday or two weeks after. Moved some events to make room for others. The European championship on football was held in June and start in Italy. They are deferred for a year, and the professional leagues of Europe welcomed it because it gives them the opportunity to finish their seasons.
You could do the same. You rely on the best players in the world and some of the members of these football clubs. N. B.And. wants to finish his season this summer and many players who will play basketball at the Olympic tournament, will not participate. Why don’t you follow this example and to adjust the timetable?
It’s completely different. Now we have no Olympic games, so we don’t need to change our schedule.
How soon a decision will be made if you decide to postpone the date, is it risky to cancel the Olympics in 2020?
I’m not going to speculate, but we owe it to all athletes, and we owe it to the whole world who watches the Olympics to say that we do not set the cancellation of Games on the agenda.
So, at some point, Japan will host the Olympics?
I gave you the answer.
The Olympics is a huge financial undertaking, but at its core it is a peaceful movement aimed to unite people and try to restore peace. Are you worried that forcing so many people to continue to plan this event and not focus on other needs, the Olympics could cause harm?
There are three things. We installed this clear principle, that we act responsibly. This is primarily to protect the health of all participants and support containment of the virus. Secondly, the decision of the I. O. C. will decide any financial interest. Due to our policy of risk management, serving for four years, and our insurance, I. O. C. will be able to continue operations and continue our mission.
206 national Olympic committees and international sports federations stated that peace in this extremely difficult and worrying situation needs a symbol of hope. So for us, even though we don’t know how long this will last tunnel, we would like to Olympic flame was light at the end of the tunnel and gave a kind of message of peace that we always do all the time, especially in these very difficult conditions the needed message of hope for mankind.
From a financial point of view, what is the cost of delay one year or two years?
We have a system of risk management and our insurance, and it will allow us to continue our activities and to organize future Olympic games.
A translational payments are received only before the opening of the Games. Tokyo needs the money by July to avoid significant financial implications and to continue to cover current expenses?
I. O. C. has no cash flow problems.
What about the Tokyo organising Committee?
I have no instructions for it, but as far as I know, the answer is also no.
You were an Olympic athlete. How would you feel if I locked you in a room from March to may 1976 (where Bach acted as a fencer in West Germany) and said you can’t train?
I can sympathize with these athletes based on personal experience. I had a similar situation before the Games in Moscow in 1980, when it was also a lot of uncertainty. Will the game take place in Moscow? Can we go? Whether we are allowed to go and under what circumstances? For an athlete the worst thing to prepare — it’s the uncertainty that distracts from training and preparation. I said 220 athletes in a telephone conversation on Wednesday that we can’t pretend we have the answers to all your questions. We are in the same situation as you, and the rest of the world.
Do you feel comfortable arranging the Olympics, which would become the playing field low-level, because you have athletes from certain countries who are unable to train?
We advised the sportsmen to contact their (national Olympic committees) and local authorities in order to obtain information about the capabilities of their training, subject to their limitations. We have seen that some countries have such opportunities. We also saw that the athletes are very creative to overcome this gap of training at home and other methods of training. This is a unique exception, which requires responsible decisions.