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  • Tokyo Bid Announcement at JOC Anniversary?


    IOC President Jacques Rogge at the JOC Symposium. (ATR)
    Tokyo Set to Declare 2020 Olympic Bid

    The commemoration for 100 years of the Japanese Olympic Committee comes to a peak Saturday with the official anniversary ceremony.

    There is a chance that Tokyo Municipal Governor Shintaro Ishihara will take the leap in his remarks at the event, formally declaring the city’s intent to bid for the 2020 Olympics.

    Ishihara has been making such pronouncements already in recent weeks, but this time he will have the ears of the nearly three-dozen IOC members who have travelled here, including IOC President Jacques Rogge.

    Even if Ishihara does declare the Tokyo 2020 candidacy, nothing is certain until the bid is endorsed by the JOC. Whether the Japanese Parliament can pass a resolution supporting the bid before the Sep 1 deadline is another matter, as the Diet is usually in recess during August.

    This would be the second consecutive bid from Tokyo for the Games. Years ago when a new bid for the Games was initially considered, 2020 was the target first mentioned.

    100 Years of Japanese Sport

    A symposium Friday on the development of Japanese sport drew an audience of nearly 1000, most of them unknowingly watching IOC President Jacques Rogge deliver a major address with the aid of Power Point.
    Seiko Hashimoto recounted for work to become an Olympian. (ATR)

    The IOC President was the lead-off speaker for the symposium, “Olympic Values” the title for a big picture view of the ethical dangers facing world sport as well as the power of sport to improve life.

    “The only way to maintain the success of sport is to base sport not on revenue, not on buildings, but values.

    “If we worry about revenue, sport will lose its value,” said the IOC President.

    Winter and Summer Olympian Seiko Hashimoto delivered a nearly hour-long keynote speech recounting her struggles as an athlete and how this led to success.

    Seiko noted her life began with connections to the Olympics, born just days before the opening ceremony for the 1964 Tokyo Games. Her name Seiko is the Japanese word for torch – and one she has passed on to one of her six children.

    After her sport career as an athlete, she served as chef de mission for Japan in Vancouver and is president of the Japan Skating Federation. She is a member of the House of Councillors in the Diet since 1995.

    IOC Roll Call in Tokyo

    Peter Tallberg of Finland is the most senior of the two-dozen IOC members who have been spotted at the JOC events in Tokyo.
    Rogge and Thomas Bach. (ATR)

    For Poland’s Irena Szewinska, this trip to Tokyo comes with memories.

    “This is where it all started for me, the Tokyo Olympics,” she tells Around the Rings.

    Her name is engraved at the Olympic Stadium for the gold medal won in the 4X100 relay. She won the long jump silver medal, too, in what would be the first of five Olympics for her.

    During a break in the JOC anniversary events she was planning to visit the venue, now known as National Stadium and regularly used for football matches.

    IOC vice president Thomas Bach is here, no signs of wounds from last week’s defeat of the Munich bid. He’ll head to Shanghai this weekend for the start of the FINA World Championships, as will the IOC President and a number of their colleagues.

    Happy Memories for Around the Rings

    Like Irena Szewinska, the return to Tokyo is where it all began 21 years ago for Around the Rings. The halls at the Takanawa Prince Hotel used for the Olympic Council of Asia meetings, the JOC anniversary, were also the scene for the 96th IOC Session where Atlanta won the 1996 Olympic Games.
    The OCA General Assembly in Tokyo took place in the same hall where the IOC voted to give the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. (ATR)

    The ballrooms and lobbies look amazingly similar, if far less frenetic than they did in 1990 when five cities were vying for the Games in a vote cast on the last day of the Session.

    For a younger radio reporter at the time, it was a bewildering scene of people and bustle, my first IOC Session. I’ve learned a lot since then. Like the IOC President holds a press conference after the vote. Or don’t knock the drink of an IOC member all over his suit while he’s talking to the bid leader from your city.

    Happy memories. My etiquette is better I hope.

    Written and reported in Tokyo by Ed Hula

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