to mark one-year countdown

If wasn't for the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes would have been fixated on Tokyo, Japan.

The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) as the rest of the world, yesterday marked the one-year-to-go to the rescheduled start date of the Olympic Games, with its president Brian Lewis, acknowledging today with mixed feelings as it would have been the original date of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.

"It's one of those bittersweet types of moments. The reality is that we celebrate, the Olympic Movement that is, with one year to go," said Lewis. "Were it not for COVID-19, we would be all looking forward eagerly and with great expectation and anticipation for the opening ceremony to see Team TTO parade out.

"The unwavering and indomitable spirit of Team TTO athletes in the face of the challenges and setbacks of the unprecedented global public health crisis should be observed and embraced as elements of motivation and inspiration to sport leaders, administrators and the national community.

"The Olympic movement has been challenged by COVID-19 but moreover the circumstances have propelled athletes to display dedication and determination, in stepping up and pushing forward to pursue their lifelong Olympic dream."

According to Lewis, who is also the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president, the symbolic observance is in support of local athletes, who need encouragement and guidance, now more than ever.

"It is imperative that we put our athletes' interest and welfare first; we must be there for them. Additionally, we pour our encouragement out to all Olympic leaders and administrators to serve as inspiration and lights of positivity to our Olympic athletes and those who aspire to become Olympians.

"There is a saying, 'Tough times don’t last but tough people do'. We have to be tough with positivity and resilience, in order to take full advantage of the opportunities that emerge out of this period of crisis.

"Team TTO, #10Golds24, are the mottos to embrace, as these serve as elements of empowerment over COVID-19, as we surpass the challenges and obstacles of the present day, with the determination that soon, the Olympic Games will be here," encouraged Lewis, who was looking forward to the debut of the pan version of the national anthem at the premier sporting event.

"It would have been the pan version of the national anthem that would have been heard at the Olympic Games. I would have been very confident that the team that would have gone to the Games this year, had a very good chance an excellent chance of doing extremely well, medalling and bringing us a step closer to the vision of 10 or more gold Olympic medals that is by the year 2024.

"But history will now show because of COVID-19 that there is no Olympic Games and that the Olympic Games had been rescheduled for the first time in history."