‘This also weighed on us, it weighed on me. But in order to arrive at this day today we had to give confidence, had to show a way out of this crisis’.
Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday revealed that he was filled with “doubts” and endured “sleepless nights” over the postponed Tokyo Games.
Bach, speaking at the International Olympic Committee session in Tokyo, said the unprecedented step of postponing the Games had proved more complicated than he thought.
“Over the past 15 months we had to take many decisions on very uncertain grounds. We had doubts every day. We deliberated and discussed. There were sleepless nights,”
“This also weighed on us, it weighed on me. But in order to arrive at this day today we had to give confidence, had to show a way out of this crisis,” he added.
Bach also praised medical workers and volunteers for making the Tokyo Games possible amid the coronavirus pandemic and said the event would send a powerful message of “peace and solidarity”.
The Games, postponed last year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, begin on Friday but will be without spectators after Japan’s decision earlier this month to leave venues empty to minimise the risk of infections.
Bach, speaking after a moment of silence at an IOC session where he was joined by Japan’s prime minister, said organisers could never have imagined the “unpredented challenges” to brining the global sports event to Tokyo.
“When Japan set out 10 years ago to bring the Olympic spirit back to Tokyo… none of us could have ever imagined the unprecedented challenges we would face,” Bach said at the opening of the IOC session, with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga present.
“We could only overcome all these challenges for the Olympic Games because throughout the past eight years we were enjoying a trustful partnership (with Japan). We could always rely on you,” he said.
Bach praised the “heroic efforts” of medical personnel and volunteers around the world amid the pandemic, and said that cancelling the Games had never been an option for organisers.
He also said that cancelling the global sports extravaganza had never been an option for organisers.
“The IOC never abandons the athletes. Therefore, we took an unprecedented decision to postpone the Games (last year). Today I can admit we did not know how complex this would be,” he said.
“We can only be together today because of the heroic efforts of all the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and the many volunteers around the world,” Bach said.
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