International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President, and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President, John Coates has reiterated the importance of holding an Olympics that is much simplified than the extravagant version planned for this year. Coates also emphasised the importance of athlete safety at the Games whenever they may be held.
“The good news is that all 42 Games’ venues, including the Olympic Village, International Broadcast and Main Press Centres have been resecured. The competition schedule is the same,” Coates wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph.
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“The IOC and our Japanese partners ... are doing everything in their power to ensure that not only will the Games go ahead next year, but the athletes remain first and foremost in all our planning,” he added.
Despite the positive tone of his column Coates also acknowledged the considerable challenges the organisers and the IOC will face saying that there is “no clear picture” on how the Olympics will shape out while reiterating the importance of keeping them simplified so they can “ensure they (Olympics) can be organised efficiently, safely and sustainably, in this new context.”
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Coates applauded the efforts put in by the Olympic partners, Japanese Government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and The Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee, in doing all that they can to ensure the Olympics take place, but also added that athletes remain the top priority.
Coates acknowledges that putting in counter-measures against Covid-19 will not be an easy task, but hailed the top-level commitment from all involved in the process.
Coates’ column also addresses the reactions he has received from athletes, as the head of the AOC and wrote that “all athletes with a Tokyo dream in their hearts have had to recalibrate their plans for a Games that would have been held right now, to a Games that are now 12 months away. Actually – and I may be biased – our Australian athletes have been inspirational.”
He also commended athletes who have shown community leadership and selflessness, in not only dealing with this difficult course but also charting a way for helping people.
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“Yes, we want the athletes of the world to have their Olympic moment of competition, just as they would have dreamt. But critically, they must experience that moment in an environment where their health and safety ... is assured,” he said.
“Obviously, the next few months will be important for these Games and more broadly for all the world as we deal with the pandemic.”
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