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  • Drop That Phone: IOC President Bach Pitches Sustainable Olympic Medals


    (ATR) IOC president Thomas Bach joins campaign to recycle old mobiles. He and Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike both dropped old phones into a bin, eventually to become gold, silver and bronze medals for the 2020 Games. 
    IOC President Bach and Tokyo Governor Koike dropping old phones into the recycle bin to become Olympic medals. (IOC/Greg Martin)

    In the symbolic ceremony aimed at raising the profile of Olympic sustainability, the IOC president said he and the governor are "sitting in the same boat, working together for the success of the Olympic Games."

    Koike has been a driving force to cut costs of the Olympics since she took office three years ago. IOC figures say billions have already been sliced from the original plans for the Games drafted six years ago.

    Koike, as nattily dressed as ever, gave a shout out to the recruitment of volunteers to help the city during the Olympics, a separate corps of volunteers from those for Tokyo 2020.

    IOC president and Tokyo governor chat at city hall. Listening in is Olympic mascot Miraitowa. (IOC/ Greg Martin)
    Included in the 45-minute meeting at City Hall were John Coates, IOC member in Australia who now is famous in Japan as chair of the coordination committee for Tokyo 2020. Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda and Morinari Watanabe, president of the International Gymnastics Federation, also were part of the delegation. Both are IOC members in Japan. 

    Record-setting Attendance 
    Earlier in the day, the IOC president spent the morning with athletes from 44 NOCs in Asia. The meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia Athletes' Forum took place at the Japanese National Training Center.

    This is Bach's second day of an extended visit. Yesterday he traveled to the earthquake affected region east of Tokyo where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    This year’s meeting marks the first time in a decade that ANOC has scheduled an assembly in an Olympic host city ahead of the Games.It is also the first time ever all 206 NOCs will be present.

    Sheikh Ahmad Intrigue
    Monday and Tuesday are filled with ANOC commissions meetings; the general assembly is set for Wednesday and Thursday. What was expected to be a routine meeting now includes intrigue over ANOC president Sheikh Ahmad's self suspension of his IOC membership.

    Ahmad made the announcement last week in response to allegations in Switzerland that he and
    Quiet for now, the ANOC registration desk at the Grand Prince New Takanawa Hotel readies for the onslaught of delegates. (ATR)
    some Swiss lawyers worked together to create false evidence in a lawsuit. The legal actions stem from political rivalries in Kuwait and have nothing to do with ANOC or the IOC.

    The popular Sheikh has not renounced his presidency of ANOC and is expected to lead the meeting. He is also the only candidate for the presidential election and is not expected to have lost any favor with the voting delegates as a result of the legal tangle he faces.

    There is talk that Ahmad could step down on a temporary basis if he is reelected. He is under review by the IOC Ethics Commission and he faces a court in March over the Swiss allegations.

    FINA vs ISL
    Outside the world of the NOCs, there may be business to handle in Tokyo for aquatics federation FINA.

    President Julio Cesar Maglione tells Around the Rings that he may have to lead a meeting of Federation decision-makers over the creation of the International Swimming League. Formed by Ukraine billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin, the ISL is battling FINA over a planned swimming meet in Turin next month. FINA has failed to approve the event and has threatened sanctions against athletes who compete, such as banishment from the Tokyo Olympics.

    ISL has not backed down and neither has FINA. More to come in Tokyo, ATR is told.

    Written in Tokyo by Ed Hula

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