Tokyo 2021 #1YearToGo

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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has suggested the organisation will shoulder some of the costs of vaccinating participants for COVID-19 at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next year.

Speaking during his first visit to Japan since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Bach said fans at Tokyo 2020 are likely to require vaccinations to protect the Japanese public but denied claims it would be a requirement for overseas visitors to enter the Olympic and Paralympic host country.

Bach also reiterated his view that the IOC was growing increasingly confident fans will be able to attend the Games, rescheduled to 2021 due to the global health crisis.

Tokyo 2020 organisers and the IOC were last week boosted by the news that a vaccine being developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and BioNTech has been found to be 90 per cent effective in preventing people from getting the virus after global trials.

Bach, who has previously insisted a vaccine is not a "silver bullet" for the Games taking place, said the IOC was in talks with manufacturers and other health experts but claimed the organisation would not jump the queue ahead of those who need a vaccination most.

"In order to protect the Japanese people and out of respect for the Japanese people, the IOC will undertake great effort so that as many (people) as possible – Olympic participants and visitors will arrive here (with a) vaccine if by then a vaccine is available," Bach said today.

"This makes us all very confident that we can have spectators in the Olympics stadium next year and that spectators will enjoy a safe environment.

"The first priority has to be a vaccine for the nurses, the medical doctors and the people who keep our society alive.

"If afterwards a vaccine is available, the IOC would bear the cost so that participants can be offered a vaccine."

Bach held his first face-to-face meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, where the two officials repeated their intention to hold the Games as planned.

The Olympics are due to run from July 23 to August 8, before the Paralympics take centre stage between August 24 and September 5.

"In this meeting, we were totally aligned in the full determination and confidence to make the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Paralympic Games a great success next summer here in Tokyo," Bach said.

"Together we can make these Olympics Games and the Olympic Flame the light at the end of the tunnel."

Suga, who succeeded Shinzō Abe as Prime Minister in September, "explained that we are making various considerations on the premise of having spectators and agreed with President Bach to work closely together toward realising a safe and secure Olympics".

Organisers are relying on a coronavirus countermeasures taskforce, formed of officials from the Japanese Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo 2020, to come up with measures and ways to allow the Games to run as scheduled in 2021.

Policies are expected to be announced before the end of the year.

Bach also met with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike for talks on preparations for the Games on the first day of his four-day visit.

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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has sought to reassure Chefs de Mission for Tokyo 2020 that their athletes will be able to fulfil their "Olympic dream" next year.

Speaking during a video message during a Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission seminar today, Bach promised the organisation was "working at full speed...to ensure the Games are fit for a post-coronavirus world".

In keeping with the recent declarations from senior IOC and Tokyo 2020 officials that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic, Bach struck an optimistic tone throughout the message.

He said a series of countermeasures being devised for Tokyo 2020 will ensure the IOC and organisers are "prepared for safe Olympic Games...in whatever conditions the world will be in" in 2021.

"Even in these ever-changing times, many of the operation details that are on top of all Chefs de Mission 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."

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori also gave a video message prior to the webinar, telling Chefs de Mission aspects of the simplification measures set to be implemented by organisers at the Games "will affect you all".

Organisers claimed last week the various cost-cutting measures, including a reduction in the number of officials at the Games by 10 to 15 per cent and removing welcome ceremonies at the Athletes' Village and prior to the Opening Ceremony, could save up to $280 million (£217 million/€238 million).

Mori repeated his assertion that coronavirus countermeasures for the Games were "our biggest challenge" but insisted organisers were "united in their efforts" to hold a safe Olympics and Paralympics in 2021.

The Tokyo 2020 President said the Olympics opening on July 23 next year "will be a moment of solidarity and unity that mankind has never experienced before".

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TOKYO, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Monday that the Tokyo Olympic Games will be held under any circumstances the world will face next summer.

In a video message released by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, Bach told Chef de Missions of all national Olympic committees, "I am sure the question today in your mind is: will the athletes make their Olympic dream come true in 10 months from now? In this regard, I can reassure you that we are working at full speed with our Japanese partners and friends to ensure safe Olympic Games that are fit for the post-corona world."

He added, "Tokyo continues to be the best prepared Olympic city. The health and safety of all concerned remain our top priority."

"We are focused on developing a tool box of COVID countermeasures for every possible scenario," he said, adding that "encouraging development of rapid testing and vaccines give us good reason for cautious optimism."

"We are prepared for safe Olympic Games whatever conditions the world will be facing next summer," he said.

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Jereem “The Dream” Richards returns to the United States today to continue his preparations for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Richards arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on March 6. Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined he would still be here seven months later. But Covid-19 has...

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THE IOC COORDINATION COMMISSION AND THE TOKYO  2020 ORGANISING COMMITTEE AGREED TODAY, 25 SEPTEMBER, ON A SERIES OF MEASURES TO MAKE THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020 FIT FOR A POST-CORONA WORLD.

Developed in response to the postponement of this year’s Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50 measures have been designed to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in Games delivery.

In his opening remarks to the meeting participants, IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged the outstanding progress being made by Tokyo 2020, reinforcing his belief that next year’s Olympic Games will be the best prepared ever. He also emphasised that the coming months will require flexibility and creativity from everyone involved as the Tokyo organisers deliver Games fit for a post-corona world. In doing so, the IOC President offered his gratitude to all stakeholders, who are fully aligned with the measures being envisaged.

Today’s meeting provided the Coordination Commission with the opportunity to review the current list of measures, with more opportunities to be identified in the lead-up to the Games. These have been split into four main categories: stakeholders; infrastructure; promotion; and other areas of interest.

Examples of the initial measures include the reduction of stakeholder personnel attending the Games, streamlining transport services, adjusting spectator activities at competition venues and hosting a number of pre-Games meetings online.

Speaking after the meeting, Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said: “Built from the principles outlined by the Joint IOC and Tokyo 2020 Steering Committee, these optimisations and simplifications mark an important step towards delivering a safe and successful Games in 2021. We owe it to the public to enact these measures during these challenging times, that’s why we’ve left no stone unturned and will continue to look for further opportunities over the coming months. The unique task of reorganising an Olympic Games has called for the Olympic Movement to be stronger together – this milestone illustrates our collective commitment. The ‘Tokyo Model’ will not only deliver a Games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future Organising Committees for many years to come.”

Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro added: “Considering the current state of the world, we have been discussing how we will be able to deliver a safe and secure Games that can win public understanding in these challenging times. After we established a broader direction that the Games in 2021 should be simplified, we have been working closely together with the IOC, the IPC and various stakeholders such as IFs, NOCs, NPCs, partners and broadcasters, in every possible area that can contribute to simplifications. This process will benefit future society – becoming a role model for future global events as people adapt to living in the new normal. We will make all efforts to ensure that in the future the Tokyo 2020 Games will be a legacy. We will continue to work hard on simplifications towards next year and ask for the continued cooperation of all those involved in the Games.”

The measures were developed with support from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan. Important input was also obtained from key Olympic stakeholder groups, including National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, International Federations, Rights-Holding Broadcasters, media and TOP Partners.

With these measures now agreed, Tokyo 2020 will start estimating the provisional cost-savings that can be achieved, with a view to providing an update at the IOC Executive Board meeting in October.

COVID-19 COUNTERMEASURES

The IOC Coordination Commission also received an update on COVID-19 countermeasure planning. This detailed how the IOC, together with Tokyo 2020 and the All Partners Task Force, which includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the IPC, the Government of Japan and the TMG, with input from experts in relevant areas, have reviewed a range of scenarios. These consider the situation in Japan and globally, illustrating potential scenarios that could be in effect during the Games next year.

This strategic approach has been crucial to identifying possible countermeasures necessary to protect the health of all Games participants. It will also help build a framework for operational planning.

The possible countermeasures have been grouped into seven areas: travel/country access; physical distancing; personal protective equipment/cleaning; food and beverage; testing/tracking/isolating; information provision and vaccines.

As part of this process, the close cooperation between the IOC, International Federations and other event organisers was highlighted. This has provided vital input into an ongoing review of the best practices and key learnings taken from the resumption of sporting events in Japan and around the world.

Looking ahead, the Commission acknowledged that as countermeasures are further developed and reviewed, important discussions will continue to be conducted on a stakeholder-journey based approach, with a focus on athletes, Games-related personnel and spectators. These preparations will continue to evolve in line with the monitoring of the global situation and its impact on Games preparations.

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