IOC President Thomas Bach: "Sacrifices and compromises" needed
The postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 "will need sacrifices and will need compromises by all the stakeholders" involved, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Wednesday (25 March), before adding that he was "confident that we can put the beautiful jigsaw puzzle together and will in the end have a wonderful Olympic Games."
Speaking to reporters on a telephone conference call, President Bach added the IOC Coordination Commission and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee had formed a task force – named "Here We Go" – to work through issues presented by the Games' postponement to a time "at the latest in summer 2021".
These include a timeframe for the Games, having to secure venues such as the Olympic Athletes' Village, and sponsors.
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No set timeframe for Games yet
The German told reporters that finalising the timeframe for the postponed Games was "a very challenging question".
"The task force Here We Go is looking into it, this needs consultation first of all with the 33 International Federations. We will have a telephone conference by tomorrow, this is the first step we have to see with them what the options are.
"After having consulted with them, we of course also have to take into account the sport calendar around the Olympic Games and many other issues.
"We should come to a solution as soon as possible, but first priority should be the quality of this decision; to really be able to take the input of all the stakeholders into account – the NOCs, athletes, partners, and the Organising Committee is key also in this."
President Bach added that the agreement reached with Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo and Tokyo 2020 did not mean the Games had to take place in the summer of next year.
"The agreement is that we want to organise these Olympic Games at the latest in summer 2021. That means that this task force can consider the broader picture. This is not restricted just to the summer months, all the options are on the table before or including the summer of 2021."
The apartments built to house the Athletes' Village were meant to be sold for public use following the Games in 2020.
President Bach said he was hopeful that something could be worked out to accommodate the changed scenario.
"This is one of the many thousands of questions that this task force will have to address. We hope of course, and we will do whatever we can, that there is an Olympic Village, because the heart of the games is usually beating in the Village. We have to find the best possible solution under the circumstances we are living in."
The 1976 fencing Olympic champion in the men's team foil drew on his own experiences from the Montreal Games as he expressed his hope something could be worked out.
"I would of course be very delighted if we could have an Olympic Village in the traditional form, because everybody who has once lived in an Olympic Village knows that this is the real Olympic experience; a once in a lifetime experience, living under one roof with the whole world, sharing your meals together, celebrating together, discussing together, forming this Olympic community; and this is a unique experience.
"I am really confident that we can also master this first-ever challenge. the Games have never been postponed before; we have no blueprint, but we are nevertheless confident that we can put the beautiful jigsaw puzzle together and will in the end have a wonderful Olympic Games."
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Sponsors give full backing
Major corporate sponsors of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are standing by the IOC after the Games were rescheduled.
President Bach said that the Games' sponsors are in agreement with the decision to postpone the Games.
"We have contacted all the sponsors and what we can see is that we have their full support for this decision and we will now work to implement it," he said.
On the subject of expiring partnerships and sponsorships, he noted: "These Games are called the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Therefore, for me, it's a logical consequence that the sponsors of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will keep their rights, even if these Games are organised in 2021."