Olympic head Thomas Bach revealed “doubts” and “sleepless nights” about the delayed Tokyo Games on Tuesday, as the opening ceremony came close to a year of delay and the chaos of the coronavirus, which has made people unfamiliar with the Japanese public. Bach, speaking at a session of the Tokyo International Olympic Committee, proved that the unprecedented step in delaying the Games was more difficult than he thought. Rocky has been a huge hit for Friday’s opening ceremony, Tokyo is still in a state of emergency and public opinion is constantly against the Games, which will largely be held without spectators.
“We had to make a lot of decisions over the last 15 months for very dubious reasons. We had doubts every day. We deliberated and discussed. There were sleepless nights,” Bach said.
“This also had a lot of weight, it weighed me down. But today we had to give them the confidence to get to this, we had to show them the way out of this crisis,” he added.
Bach has made scattered protests during a visit to Japan, where a recent poll by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper showed 55% of respondents appeared to oppose the Games this summer.
Four people have tested positive in the Olympic Village, raising fears that the arrival of thousands of athletes, officials and the media will add a spike in Japanese cases.
A teenage U.S. gymnast who was out of town has also been among the cases associated with the 71 games reported so far.
Olympic and Japanese officials have strongly defended the Games as they are held in a strict bi-safe “Bubble” that takes place every day. Eighty percent of gaming athletes have been vaccinated.
“We can finally see it at the end of the dark tunnel,” Bach said, adding, “Cancellation has never been an option for us. The IOC has never abandoned Athletes … We have sided with Athletes.”
Bach was speaking at an extraordinary IOC session, where masked representatives were socially distanced at individual tables and the podium microphone was wiped after each speaker.
The Olympics, which will be held mainly in empty stadiums, were reflected in the sound of the recorded people, starting with the opening ceremony of the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
The event will be held without music by Keigo ‘Cornelius’ Oyamada, who left on Monday after shouting about past conversations, describing the harassment of disabled schoolchildren.
“I am deeply aware that accepting my offer of musical participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics should not be taken into account by many people,” they said in a statement.
Toyota General Sponsor, the world’s largest automaker, also ruled out plans to launch an Olympic-related brand campaign in Japan, a senior official said the Games lacked people’s “understanding”.
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