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  • U.S. Salutes Tokyo Olympic Preparations


    (ATR) A big week for the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics: they hold virtual meetings with team leaders from the 206 national Olympic committees. Normally taking place in the host city, the chefs de mission briefing is an online gathering in this year of corona virus countermeasures.

    But the distance learning presented by Tokyo 2020 is top quality says Dean Nakamura, vice president for Games operations for the U.S.Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

    "The virtual chef de mission meeting was really positive, and we offer our thanks and appreciation to TOCOG for arranging a beneficial update under unprecedented circumstances - and for sharing specific information that can help us better prepare for the Games,” says Nakamura, one of three staff members taking part for the US in the October 12 session presented for English speaking team leaders.

    Subsequent sessions with the Tokyo team are in French and Spanish, the first time the chefs meeting has been divided by language, made more practical by the flexibility of a virtual presentation.

    The meeting Monday lasted three hours, literally several days fewer than the traditional chefs meeting when it is held in the host city with hundreds of representatives from the NOCs.

    “All of the NOCs are in the unique position of planning for a Games that will be unlike any other, and TOCOG is not only recognizing that, they are supporting us as we, collectively, work to make it a great experience for the athletes and all of the stakeholders," is the upbeat assessment from Nakamura, who is making his debut as the USOPC executive in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic teams, both likely the largest to go to Tokyo next year.

    The US Olympic team should range from 596 to 620 athletes while the Paralympic team will number 245 to 260 athletes along with 10 competition partners who assist some of the Paralympians.

    The US chef de mission is Rick Adams who is the chief of sport performance for the USOPC. A USOPC veteran, he will hold the chef de mission post for the first time in Tokyo.

    Julie Dussliere, USOPC chief of Paralympic sport handles the chef de mission duties for the Paralympic team. Still to come will be a meeting dedicated to the chefs from the Paralympic teams .

    While the virtual meeting is cost-saving, chefs from both big and small NOCs normally take advantage of the traditional meetings to see in person the venues and Olympic Village. With the onset of the Corona virus pandemic, Tokyo 2020 has received no visits from overseas NOC delegations since February. Restrictions are still in place for most international travel to Japan with expectations they might be lifted in the first part of 2021.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.
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