The IOC President’s visit to Tokyo continued on Tuesday with a tour of the Olympic Village and the Olympic Stadium, in the company of Olympians from Japan and other countries around the world.
President Bach has already described Tokyo as the best-ever prepared Olympic city. Before touring the facilities, he met the visiting Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
The Prime Minister and the IOC President discussed and agreed on the important role of sport, both during the coronavirus crisis and in the recovery from the crisis. They also discussed the unifying mission of the IOC and the Olympic Games, and agreed on the need for the political neutrality of the IOC and the Games. Prime Minister Morrison once again reiterated the full support of the Australian government for the candidature of Queensland for the 2032 Olympic Games.
After the meeting, President Bach headed for the impressive water-side Olympic Village, which is designed to house more than 9,000 athletes and up to 17,000 residents in total during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Meeting three-time Olympian and Japanese triathlon champion Ueda Ai, Paralympian badminton player Satomi Sarina and Chida Kenta, a fencer and JOC Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair, they were able to see one of the apartments where athletes will stay during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Standing on the balcony, President Bach praised the accommodation and told his fellow visitors, “There is good space and a lot of light, and the view of the nearby iconic Rainbow Bridge is spectacular. This is the place to be.” Later, the three accompanied the IOC President to the dining hall, which has a capacity of 5,000.
Next stop was the magnificent Olympic Stadium, where the President had the opportunity to walk on the running track. After the visit, President Bach described the venue as “inspirational and authentic”. He went on, “This fantastic stadium is already atmospheric even when it is empty, nine months before the Opening Ceremony.” The stadium was designed by Kengo Kuma, who was also on the jury for the construction of Olympic House in Lausanne.
President Bach finished the day with a rendez-vous with the Olympic flame in the Japan Olympic Museum. He was joined by a number of athletes from Japan and some Olympic scholarship-holders from around the world. Ono Shohei, a judoka, and Kimura Keiichi, a Paralympian swimmer, who are both Japanese, were joined by scholarship-holders Elvismar Rodriguez from Venezuela, also a judoka, and Carlos Yulo, an artistic gymnast from the Philippines.
The Olympians and Paralympians posed for photos with the flame at the Museum, which is housed in the headquarters of the Japan Sport Association and the Japanese Olympic Committee. The Olympic Torch Relay will begin again next year on 25 March, with the torch making its way to Tokyo where it will light the Olympic cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on 23 July to signal the official start of the Games.