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  • Bach Running for Second Term; Tokyo 2020 Venues Secured


    (ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach announces he will run for a second term during the first ever virtual IOC Session on Friday.

    IOC President Thomas Bach (right) leading virtual IOC Session from Olympic House. (IOC)
    The other major developments have to do with efforts by Tokyo 2020 organizers in preparing to hold the postponed Games a year late due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Organizers report that all 42 of the venues have been re-secured for 2021, including the Olympic Village and Big Sight, which will house the International Broadcasting Center and the Media Press Center.

    Accommodations and contracts with service providers still need to be finalized.

    Tokyo 2020 says it has written to all International Federations about the changes that will be implemented as the Games are scaled back or “simplified” due to the additional costs caused by the postponement.

    Delegation size and service levels will not be as robust as the original plan.

    Tokyo 2020 presents update to IOC Session. (IOC)
    Tokyo 2020 says it has been in contact with NOCs since last month and plans to hold a chef de mission seminar in October.

    Implementing countermeasures against coronavirus is top priority in the months ahead.

    “Covid will add to costs. Postponement of the Games is a challenge that every member of the Tokyo 2020 committee is approaching with a deep commitment,” Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said.

    The IOC and Tokyo 2020 are still calculating the additional costs to holding the Games a year later than originally planned. A final determination is expected in the autumn.

    The competition schedule for Tokyo 2020 has been confirmed.

    The Torch Relay ahead of Tokyo 2020 will be respected in its original framework though organizers say simplification could be considered. All of those who accepted the chance to run with the torch will keep their places.

    The Flame will soon be put back on display. It has been kept at an undisclosed location since early April after being removed from public view in Fukushima due to the pandemic. The Flame arrived in Japan from Greece on March 26.

    Those who have already bought tickets for the Games will be able to use them. Organizers promise that requests for refunds will be granted.

    The chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 John Coates praised the efforts of the organizing committee, saying it was more ready than any other Games.

    "Whatever is around the corner, you'll have no better prepared organizing committee than this organizing committee."

    Bach added that he was "deeply impressed" by the job Tokyo 2020 was doing.

    IOC Welcomes Five New Members

    The five new IOC members with Bach (IOC)
    World Athletics president Sebastian Coe is one of the five new members of the IOC, and the only one whose membership is tied to his position as a leader of an International Federation.

    The other four members elected at the Session join as individuals.  They are Maria de la Caridad Colón Ruenes of Cuba, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia. Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and Battushig Batbold of Mongolia.

    Three current IOC members were re-elected to another eight-year term:  Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant of Belgium, Lingwei Li of China and Aicha Garad Ali of Djibouti.

    John Coates of Australia and Ser Miang Ng of Singapore were elected as vice-presidents.

    Two new Executive Board members were also elected. Mikaela Cojuangcon Jaworski of the Philippines and Gerardo Werthein of Argentina will replace Ugur Erdener of Turkey and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. of Spain, whose terms expired.

    In other votes, the IOC unanimously ratified the EB decision announced on Wednesday to delay the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games to 2026 and approved two IOC Sessions for 2021.

    Bach holds press conference following the Session. (IOC)
    The first Session next year will be held in the spring and will feature the IOC presidential election. The second will follow in the summer around the start of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.

    Merits of Virtual Meetings

    The first virtual Session appeared to go pretty much to plan with only a few minor technical glitches. But Bach admits a large majority of members want to meet in person at the next Session in spring of 2021.

    In response to a question from Around the Rings, Bach told reporters at a post-Session online press conference that while virtual gatherings work well for "purely technical meetings" the format is not the best choice for anything that involves less clear-cut topics.

    "For many coordination commissions, for instance, this virtual format is very helpful. Whenever it comes to debating and creativity then a meeting in person in our experience is much better when views can be exchanged and also people can feel the atmosphere when they make a proposal. Is this well met or not? This all is not possible in this kind of virtual meetings."

    Written by Gerard Farek

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