IOC President Thomas Bach said there is no blueprint to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the first one-year postponement in Olympic history. Nevertheless, Bach said Wednesday that “good progress” is being made to hold the Games in summer 2021.
“At the same time, because of this uncertainty, we have to think different scenarios,” Bach told Mike Tirico on NBCSN’s Lunch Talk Live. “We don’t know how the world will look like by then. We have to consider already now whether there will be measures necessary for access to Japan, for instance. Do we maybe need quarantine for athletes from different countries or for all the athletes from all the countries? How can this be managed? Do we need special measures for access to the venues? How many people can access the venues? This is part of this mammoth task.”
Bach said keys in the beginning of the 2021 process included securing the Olympic village and venues.
The IOC is following advice from the World Health Organization when it comes to the coronavirus and public safety. Bach was asked by Tirico whether a coronavirus vaccine was necessary for the Olympics to happen.
“We have established one principle at the very beginning of all this discussion, way before the postponement [was announced], and this is that the Games must be organized offering a safe environment for all the participants,” Bach said. “At this moment, nobody can give you a reliable answer to the question of how the world will look like in in one year and two months from now. What we can say is we are committed, and we stick to this principle — safe Games for everybody.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said before the postponement was announced March 24 that the Games cannot be postponed beyond summer 2021, Bach reiterated to the BBC on Wednesday.
“He made it very clear from the beginning that summer 2021 is the last option,” said Bach, who made similar comments to German media in mid-April. “Quite frankly, I have some understanding for this because you cannot forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 people in an organizing committee. You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty. You cannot have so much overlapping for the future Olympic Games.”
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