Olympics: Rescheduled Tokyo Games, possibly in spring, need sacrifices from all stakeholders, says Thomas Bach

VIDEO: REUTERS
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach admitted that cancelling the Tokyo Games was "discussed and considered".
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach admitted that cancelling the Tokyo Games was "discussed and considered".PHOTO: AFP

LAUSANNE (AFP, REUTERS) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday (March 25) that the postponed Tokyo Games would require "sacrifices and compromises" from all sides to make them work, while opening the door to a spring Olympics.

"These postponed Olympic Games will need sacrifices, will need compromises from all stakeholders," Bach told reporters in a conference call the day after the IOC decided to delay the 2020 Games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC's role, Bach said, was "to make the Olympic dreams of athletes come true",  adding that although the rescheduled Games must be held before the end of summer 2021, the as-yet-undecided dates would not necessarily be restricted to summer months.

He admitted that cancelling the Tokyo Games was "discussed and considered" but said: "It was very clear from the beginning that cancellation was not something the IOC would in any way favour."

He also predicted the completion of “a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and wonderful Olympic Games”.

The IOC and Japanese government finally succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies as the coronavirus spread around the world, when they agreed on Tuesday to put back the Games until 2021. It is the first Olympic Games to be postponed.

It was a huge blow not only to Japan, which has invested US$12 billion (S$17.4 billion) in preparations, but also for the prestige of the Olympic movement and Bach himself, who had come under fire for not reacting sooner in the face of the global health crisis.

An IOC coordination commission, that has been overseeing preparations, will now work towards determining a new date for next year amid a chaotic sports calendar, severely disrupted by the virus.