Successful first visit for IOC Coordination Commission to Tokyo
The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games today successfully concluded its first visit to the 2020 Olympic host city of Tokyo (25-27 June). The Commission, through its Chair, John Coates, declared that it was “very pleased” with the initial progress made by Tokyo 2020, as well as by the on-going review of its bid plans. The Commission was also extremely satisfied that the “best of Japan” has been mobilised to get everyone involved in Tokyo 2020 and help spread the message across the country.
Speaking after the meetings, IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said, “We are very pleased with Tokyo 2020’s progress under the leadership of President Yoshiro Mori. The Organising Committee and its government partners have got off to a quick start and are putting in place solid foundations for the next six years of preparations.” He continued, “The close cooperation of all levels of government with Tokyo 2020 was clearly felt by the Commission, particularly following our meeting with Prime Minister Abe and with Governor Masuzoe’s participation in the visit. Their support for the Games, as well as the support of many high-profile Japanese personalities through the Tokyo 2020 Advisory Meeting, are greatly appreciated, and will stand the 2020 Games in good stead. Their commitment underlines that Tokyo 2020 is for all Japan, and is encouraging Japanese everywhere to get behind these Games and see how they can engage in helping Tokyo to welcome the world in 2020.”
The Tokyo organisers are already working on their plans to engage the local population in the Games. This is likely to take several forms, including National Olympic Committee training venues around the country, a recently signed agreement with 552 universities, volunteering opportunities, cultural programmes, the Olympic Torch Relay, and major milestone events, to name but a few. There will therefore be plenty of opportunities for people across Japan to get involved in and be a part of the Games.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori commented, “We are delighted to have been able to spend such a productive few days with John Coates, Chair of the Coordination Commission, the distinguished members of the Coordination Commission and the administrative staff of the IOC. We are also very pleased that we were able to create an atmosphere conducive to meaningful discussions throughout our meetings. I am happy to report that the Coordination Commission assessed the current status of our overall preparations very highly. The members of the Coordination Commission have a wealth of experience of the Games from a diverse array of perspectives, and we are extremely grateful for the valuable advice and guidance we have received from them. However, the members of the Commission did point out one or two things that need addressing. We will of course be incorporating all the advice we received into our preparations for the Games at the earliest opportunity.”
He continued, “With regard to the review of our venue plan, I informed the Coordination Commission that, based on such aspects as the kind of legacy we will leave, the impact of the Games on the lives of Tokyo residents and the cost of construction and maintenance of the venues, the Organising Committee will examine all issues closely and collaborate with the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and both domestic and international sports federations, to ensure the success of the Games.”
And he concluded, “Since Tokyo was elected as the host city for the 2020 Games, we have welcomed members of the IOC and the IPC to Tokyo, and have conducted several fruitful discussions. However, this is the first time that we have been able to welcome the members of the IOC Coordination Commission, and we were delighted to be able to spend three very productive days with them. Even though our team consists of members of the sporting community, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the national government and various related organisations, I was able to gain a real sense that all members of the Organising Committee were pulling together in the same direction as a truly integrated unit. Over the next six years, the members of the Coordination Commission and the Organising Committee will work together as a united team, all sailing in the same boat towards a shared objective, and I believe we have got off to an excellent start. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Chair of the Coordination Commission, John Coates, the IOC and the IPC, and I can assure you that all of us at the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to exert our utmost efforts towards the successful delivery of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
As part of the visit, the Commission toured a number of the venues in the “Bay Zone” including the Velodrome, Gymnastic Centre, Tennis Park, Olympic Village, Tokyo Big Sight, Aquatics Centre, Wakasu Olympic Arena and Sea Forest venues. Four of Tokyo 2020’s venues are legacies from the 1964 Olympic Games, and another eight venues in Tokyo already exist. During the visits, the Commission was joined by Paralympian Mami Sato and three young Japanese fencers, who participated in the visit to Tokyo Big Sight, where fencing will be contested during the Games.
The local organisers also took this opportunity to update the IOC on their on-going review of their bid plans, including the venues. This is based on a number of observations made in the IOC Evaluation Commission’s report. The review will not affect the core principles of the bid. The objective is to refine the legacy and operational assumptions of Tokyo’s plans. The Tokyo organisers are looking to ensure that their Games leave a sustainable long-term legacy to the host city and its citizens. The review is being carried out in cooperation with all the key national and international stakeholders.
The Commission commended Tokyo 2020 for its efforts in this domain. The legacy vision and objectives are consistent with discussions around Olympic Agenda 2020, a process that will provide an ambitious strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.
In addition to the venues, the Commission also heard about Tokyo 2020’s vision and objectives; governance; sport; commercial development; Paralympic Games; engagement and communications; accommodation; transport; and sustainability and legacy plans. The Commission was impressed by the high level of planning already undertaken in areas like accommodation and transport.
Part of the sporting legacy will also include the Japanese Olympic and Paralympic Committees’ plans to identify and develop young athletes from around the country, with a view to their participating in the 2020 Games and enjoying sport as part of a healthy lifestyle. This ambitious programme will give young, talented Japanese athletes a great opportunity to seek to represent their country at a home Olympic Games.
The second full IOC Coordination Commission visit to Tokyo will be held in 2015, and there will be 10 Commission visits to the 2020 host city over its seven-year lifecycle. These visits will be supplemented by Project Review visits by the Coordination Commission Executive, which will take place between the full Commission visits, as the IOC helps to guide and advise Tokyo 2020 in its Games planning and operations.
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