IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH MET KOIKE YURIKO, THE GOVERNOR OF THE TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT (TMG), ON THURSDAY TO DISCUSS PREPARATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES. HE WAS JOINED BY COORDINATION COMMISSION CHAIR JOHN COATES AND TOKYO 2020 ORGANISING COMMITTEE PRESIDENT HASHIMOTO SEIKO. ALSO PRESENT WAS IOC MEMBER AND COORDINATION COMMISSION VICE-CHAIR ALEX GILADY, AS WELL AS THE IOC MEMBERS IN JAPAN, WATANABE MORINARI AND YAMASHITA YASUHIRO.
“We are just eight days away from historic Olympic Games. These Games will be historic in many respects. They will be the first-ever postponed Olympic Games in our long history and will be the most restricted Games and the most restricted sports event in the world,” the IOC President said.
He went on: “That we are now eight days away from the Opening Ceremony is thanks to the efforts of so many, in particular the people of Tokyo and the many unsung heroes of Tokyo: medical workers, nurses and many others. But also thanks to all the people of Tokyo, who are respecting the strict rules which have been established here in order to contain the virus. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the entire Olympic Movement, our great respect to all the people of Tokyo, and to you, Ms Governor. By making these Olympic Games the most restricted sports event ever in the world, we and the Olympic community want to contribute to the safety of these Games and want to avoid any possible risk for the people of Tokyo and Japan.”
President Bach stressed: “Like the people of Tokyo and Japan, the athletes have overcome so many challenges, working and training for many years, and also after the postponement. They share the experience of perseverance with the people of Tokyo and Japan. They are longing for this moment of the Olympic Games, and therefore I humbly ask the people of Tokyo to welcome these athletes warmly, to cheer them even if only remotely, so that all these athletes from all 205 National Olympic Committees can enjoy the warm Olympic spirit of the people of Tokyo and the people of Japan.”
Governor KOIKE and President Bach were meeting for the first time in person since November last year, when the IOC President visited Tokyo. Ms KOIKE welcomed the measures the IOC and the Olympic Movement have implemented to make these Games safe and secure for all participants and the Japanese people: “We appreciate very much the cooperation to counter COVID-19, such as reducing the number of people who are coming to Japan.” She thanked the IOC for helping to provide vaccines to Games staff and volunteers.
Governor KOIKE reported on the warm welcome the Olympic flame was receiving during the Olympic Torch Relay. “The torch has finally arrived in Tokyo, and it is being welcomed by all.” She also stressed that Tokyo wants to develop an environment for the athletes which will allow them to show their best performance. “I trust in the power of sport; the spectators are the 7.8 billion people of the world.” By making these Games successful, a sense of unity would be spread around the globe through sport, Governor KOIKE emphasised.