During the ninth IOC Coordination Commission visit to Tokyo (30 October – 1 November), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee presented significant progress towards hosting spectacular Olympic Games in less than nine months’ time.
On the final day of the visit, a four-party working group meeting took place, during which the next steps in moving the marathon and race walk events to Sapporo were discussed.
“We thank the four-party working group for productive discussions and cooperation in the change of venue for the marathon and race walk, in order to safeguard the health of the athletes. We look forward to moving forward as a united team, something which has successfully characterised these Olympic Games to date,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates.
“On behalf of the IOC, we also want to express our sincere appreciation to the people of Tokyo. We can fully understand the concerns and disappointment of Tokyoites, who are so enthusiastic and involved in these Olympic Games. It is for this reason that we have proposed to organise, together with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), an ‘Olympic Celebration marathon’ after the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will be an opportunity to say thank you and celebrate the outstanding contribution of the TMG and the people of Tokyo to the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
The four-party working group agreed to the following points at the Coordination Commission meeting:
- The authority to change the venue belongs to the IOC.
- The TMG will not be asked to bear the cost that is newly incurred when the venues are moved to Sapporo.
- The expenses which were already made by the TMG and Tokyo 2020 in relation to the marathon and race walk will be examined and verified, and the expenses that the TMG cannot use for other purposes will not be borne by the TMG.
- There will be no future venue changes other than marathon and race walk.
Moving forward, the IOC will begin planning with Tokyo 2020 and the relevant local authorities, as well as continue to coordinate with the IAAF to ensure that the athletes compete on the best field of play.
"During the meeting today, the IOC conveyed its thoughtful words to many Olympic fans in Japan, and Chairman Coates read to us a message from IOC President Bach,” said Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori. “We in the Organising Committee share these sentiments. We appreciate the fans’ enthusiasm and will come together as one team and make our best efforts to ensure the success of the Games. After the four-party meeting, I contacted Sapporo mayor Akimoto and Hokkaido governor Suzuki. Both were very honoured and said that they will be well prepared."
In addition to this important conversation, the IOC Coordination Commission members discussed several key topics during the three-day meeting, including transport, operational readiness and legacy.
Tokyo 2020 has achieved a succession of important milestones over the last several months, including the unveiling of the spectacular Ariake Gymnastics Centre. With its opening, only three venues remain to be completed, all of which are more than 85 per cent finished. This includes the Olympic Stadium, which received glowing praise after the IOC Coordination Commission members toured the facility during their visit.
The Commission members also saw the Tennis Park, as well as stopping off at the Oi Hockey Stadium, where they had the opportunity to interact with athletes who are preparing to represent Japan in nine months’ time.
Since the Coordination Commission meeting in May, the Organising Committee has welcomed hundreds of international journalists and broadcasters at the second World Press Briefing and World Broadcaster Meeting, as well as hosting the Chefs de Mission seminar, both of which received high praise.
These milestones signal the transition to the delivery of events, and their successful completion bodes well for fantastic Olympic Games in less than a year.
“Tokyo 2020 has been extremely productive since our last Coordination Commission meeting. Preparations for these Olympic Games continue apace, and global interest in them continues to rise at incredible rates,” said Coates. “Congratulations are in order to both Tokyo 2020 and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for the successful organisation of the most recent wave of test events, as well as for the delivery of venues on time.”
In addition to operational events, Tokyo 2020 has worked to engage both domestic and global audiences even further. Tickets continue to sell at phenomenal rates around the world, and its approach will be remembered as one of the most innovative and creative to date.
Tokyo 2020 also presented its plans to take sport to the people, with updates on its active fan experience at the Tokyo waterfront city, live sites, public viewings and cultural performances.
With intense planning for transport underway, the IOC delegation underlined the importance of further testing procedures to ensure that athletes, workforce and spectators experience on-time arrivals.
Additionally, the Commission members, together with IOC Member and Chair of the Legacy and Sustainability Commission Prince Albert II of Monaco, emphasised the importance of ensuring that thorough legacy plans are in place well ahead of the Olympic Games.
Several stakeholders of the Olympic and Paralympic movements also joined the Coordination Commission visit, offering their expertise to ensure that athletes, fans and stakeholders all enjoy exceptional Games.
These included National Olympic Committees (NOCs) – the British Olympic Association, the NOC of Zambia, the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee - and TOP partner representatives – Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Toyota.
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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