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  • Tokyo Report -- Earthquake Tributes; 2020 Olympic Bid, OCA Meets


    The IOC President at the Foreign Correspondents Club. (ATR)
    Rogge: Tokyo 2020 Not Blocked by PyeongChang Victory, Nuclear Disaster

    IOC President Jacques Rogge says the hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang will not impede a bid from Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games.

    Rogge’s comments came during a Q&A session Thursday at the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Club when he was asked how the possibility of a Tokyo bid might be impacted by Korea hosting the 2018 Games.

    “That’s absolutely not a problem,” he responded.

    “There is a perception that there is an automatic rotation of continents. This is not the case,” Rogge insisted. While he tallied a list of cities from the same continent that had hosted back to back Summer and Winter Games, they were all from Europe. Never in the annals of the recent Games have any other continents enjoyed consecutive Summer and Winter Games.

    “We go for quality, we do not go for continents,” said Rogge.

    On whether the lingering crisis at the nuclear power plant hit by the tsunami in March is making Japan an unsafe host for international sport, the IOC leader said he would not be in Japan were it otherwise.

    “We feel absolutely safe in Japan. There is no doubt about that. Yes indeed the resumption of normal national and international competition is a very important decision that the world of sport trusts Japan,” he said.

    While figure skating moved its world championship from Tokyo in the aftermath of the quake, the gymnastics championships in October will stay put.

    As far as the specifics of a possible bid from Tokyo, Rogge said he could not say very much in the absence of a formal declaration of a candidacy. While the governor of Tokyo as well as the Japanese Olympic Committee is in favor of bidding, there still hasn’t been a sign-off from the national government.

    “We would welcome of course, that goes without saying, a very strong bid emerging from Tokyo,” said Rogge.

    Earthquake Tributes

    The OCA General Assembly opened its one-day meeting with a moment of silence for the victims of the March earthquake.

    “We were all very sad and sorry for the big crisis in Japan,” OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said.

    The IOC President paid tribute to the resiliency of Japan in his comments at the open of the OCA meeting.

    After his visit to the Foreign Correspondents Club, Rogge travelled to the National Training Center for elite Japanese
    athletes where he greeted nine survivors of the quake.

    “I bring you the sympathy and the greetings of the entire sports world,” Rogge told the group.

    “ We admire the traditional courage you have shown. We admire that you can withstand adversity and want to rebuild your lives and your country. Thanks to your attitude you are going to make Japan proud,” said Rogge.
    Rogge has named a three-member working group to coordinate earthquake relief coming from the Olympic Movement, chaired by Ser Miang Ng of Singapore.

    Sheikh Ahmad Keeps OCA Assembly to the Point

    While Rogge was off-campus, the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly went through a 20-point agenda in three hours less than planned.

    And that was with elections for a dozen vice presidents and a new term for OCA President Sheikh
    The OCA General Assembly in Tokyo (ATR)
    Ahmad, his fifth since 1991.

    One of the new vice presidents is Y.S. Park, president of the Korean Olympic Committee. He’ll hold the seat earmarked to supervise the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

    All officers were elected without opposition after two would-be challengers stepped aside.

    About 20 IOC members attended the one-day meeting.

    NOCs Get Help with Expenses for London Chefs Meeting

    The 45 NOCs in Asia received word Thursday that they will receive financial assistance to attend the year-to-go chefs de mission meeting in London next month. An impasse over who will help pay for the visit by the 205 delegations has apparently been resolved, Association of National Olympic Committees secretary general Gunilla Lindberg told the OCA assembly.

    She says letters will be sent in days explaining the assistance which covers hotel and airfare for one delegate to go to London. The money will come from ANOC, the IOC and Olympic Solidarity. Funding for the NOCs to attend the Aug 9 to 12 meeting had to be secured when LOCOG said it could not afford to pay.

    Prime Minister Meets OCA, Symposium Friday

    The OCA delegates head to the Prime Minister’s residence Friday morning for a protocol visit.

    In the afternoon the Japanese Olympic Committee begins two days of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Asia’s first NOC. A symposium on 100 years of Japanese sport id Friday’s feature. Saturday brings the formal event to mark the anniversary.

    Written and reported in Tokyo by Ed Hula.

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