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 the Tokyo International Olympic Committee session, took an unprecedented step to delay the Games from “weighing me down” because it turned out to be more complicated 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 his visit to Japan, where the latest polls by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper showed that 55% of respondents were opposed to holding the Games.
Five 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.
The latest case in the complex, Czech beach volleyball coach Simon Nausch, was also given a positive by one of his players and the day came.
Olympic and Japanese officials have strongly defended the Games as they are held in a strict bi-safe “Bubble” that takes place every day. About 80% of 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.”
Delegates unanimously agreed to update the Olympic slogan “faster, higher, stronger” to “together, faster, higher, stronger – together” to reflect global solidarity during the pandemic.
“Everywhere we look at the Collaborative effort to get faster and better solutions than working in silos,” Bach said.
Ski Mountaineering also allowed competitors to run and walk in the mountains as a new sport for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics.
The changes were made at an extraordinary IOC session, where masked representatives were socially distanced at individual tables and the podium microphone was wiped after each speaker.
On Wednesday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, will give a keynote speech, and Brisbane competitor – the only candidate – is expected to deliver the 2032 Summer Games.
“This is not an agreement, because there is still a decision to be made,” stressed IOC communications director Mark Adams.
“They may decide to put the issue back in the pot – there are still several cities that are interested.”
The session will take place before the Olympic Games, which will be held mainly in empty stadiums, listening to the noises of the people recorded, starting with the opening ceremony of the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
The event will continue without any music for the planned opening, after composer Keigo ‘Cornelius’ Oyamada left, after a shout-out about past conversations, when he described the harassment of disabled schoolchildren.
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”.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito will attend the opening ceremony, but an Imperial Household Agency official said he did not know whether he would speak at the ceremony.
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