With exactly one year to go until the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today officially invited the world’s Olympic athletes to take part in the Olympic Games.
At the celebrations, President Bach symbolically handed invitations to the Presidents of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Greece, China, France, the United States of America, Senegal, Australia and Japan, as well as the Chef de Mission of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. Among the NOCs represented were the country where the Olympic Games originated and several host countries of upcoming Games and Youth Olympic Games editions.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Bach said: “One year from now, Japan will make history. It will be a wonderful and unique moment for our gracious Japanese hosts to show the world the best of Japan: your rich history and traditions, your cutting-edge innovation, your culture of hospitality, and, of course, your love for sport.”
He continued: “Preparations are making excellent progress, thanks to the amazing work of the Organising Committee and with outstanding cooperation and support from the government and the business community. There is so much to look forward to. I have never seen an Olympic city as prepared as Tokyo with one year to go before the Olympic Games.”
Excitement in Japan is already growing, as seen by the huge demand for tickets, with more than 3.2 million already sold, and more than 200,000 people having applied to be volunteers.
The ceremony took place at the Tokyo International Forum, which will host weightlifting at the Olympic Games next year. It was attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC President Thomas Bach, IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori.
President Mori commented: “I believe the Tokyo 2020 Games will be passed down to the next generation as an important turning point in Olympic history. It will be the second time that Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where the world is united as one, regardless of differences in nationality, race, culture or religious views. I strongly hope the younger generation who learn to respect, understand and recognise each other through the Games will play a central role in building an inclusive society.”
Accepting the invitations from President Bach on behalf of the NOCs present were Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos; Chinese Olympic Committee President Zhongwen Gou; French National Olympic and Sports Committee President Denis Masseglia; United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee President Susanne Lyons; Senegalese National Olympic and Sports Committee President Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye; IOC Refugee Olympic Team Chef de Mission Tegla Loroupe; Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates; and Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita.
In the morning, as part of the Let’s GoGo event that allowed residents of Tokyo to try Olympic sports, IOC President Bach practised fencing with local children before formally inviting the athletes of the world to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In addition to the formal presentation of invitations to the NOCs, the ceremony included the unveiling of the Tokyo 2020 medal design, as well as a rhythmic gymnastics performance by Japanese Olympian Honami Tsuboi. Live music was also performed by the Yoshida Brothers and by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.
Tokyo will host the Games of the XXXII Olympiad from 24 July to 9 August 2020.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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