At a time when the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would have just been launching the opening ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach gave an upbeat prognosis for the delayed mega event via a video message.
"It can and will be the great comeback festival of sport to the international scene,” he said.
"These Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020 in 2021, can, should and will be the light at the end of the tunnel that all humankind is in at this moment.
"We are living a period of great uncertainty. Then at the end of this very difficult period for humankind, the Olympic Games can be a great symbol of hope, of optimism, of solidarity and of unity in all of our diversity.
The disruption caused by Covid-19 creates unique challenges for all event organisers and staging the Olympic Games will be a challenge even with an additional year of preparation time.
"This is a mammoth task because we cannot prepare Olympic Games as we are used to. In fact, we have to prepare for multiple scenarios of Olympic Games. We have to take all of this into account – what could happen, what may happen.”
The safety of athletes is the guiding principle in the delivery of the Games, Bach said.
"This is the top priority – the Olympic Games will respect and safeguard the health of all of the participants.
"We want to prepare these Games, adapt it to the circumstances of the crisis at the time, while ensuring for everybody the Olympic spirit, because this is what makes the Olympic Games so unique, uniting the entire world. This spirit has to be and will be reflected.
"All the adaptations we may have to make will not affect venues, sports or the athletes, so we can give the athletes the stage to shine that they deserve.”
Tokyo 2020 as a post-Covid role model
Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee also gave a video message, in which he suggested that this dark cloud might have a silver lining.
“It is rather difficult for us to expect that the coronavirus pandemic will be contained, but if we can deliver the Tokyo Games and Paralympics ‘with coronavirus’ I think the Tokyo Games will become a role model for the next Olympic Games or other various international events,” he said.
“I strongly hope that this will make a mark – this will become a legacy for the history of mankind.”
The video messages were shared on 23rd July 2020. Credit: IOC, via sources: https://sportstar.thehindu.com/videos/tokyo-olympics-symbol-of-hope-covid-19-pandemic-thomas-bach-toshiro-muto/article32169344.ece# and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkzI8NeG3bY