The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee today discussed the estimated USD 280 million (JPY 30 billion) in cost savings that will be achieved by initial simplification and optimisation measures developed to deliver Games fit for a post-corona world.

This tentative figure was revealed at the IOC EB meeting held remotely earlier today. It is based on over 50 measures that were agreed by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 at last month’s Coordination Commission meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “We got another very encouraging, precise and excellent report from the Tokyo Organising Committee. There is really great progress being made to make these Olympic Games fit for the post-corona world. Savings of about USD 280 million will be achieved in the operational budget by applying 50 plus measures, which had been agreed between the Organising Committee and the IOC Coordination Commission in the last meeting.”

Examples of some of the key measures being implemented include: the review of specifications for temporary overlay and other equipment at venues; the reduction of service levels and the Look of the Games in venues and in the Olympic and the Paralympic Village; the optimisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay operations; encouraging stakeholders to optimise their delegation working in Tokyo; and also staffing plans for the Organising Committee.

The results of these efforts will now allow Tokyo 2020 to estimate the total additional costs associated with the postponement, including the approximate costs for COVID-19 countermeasures. The Organising Committee will work through these topics in detail and present its updated budget by the end of this year.

On the countermeasure planning, President Bach commented: "We also see that the work on COVID countermeasures is making good progress, and that more and more measures are being added, including the potential availability of vaccines and rapid testing – where we are very confident that they will be available. All these new methods will be added to the toolbox, which will then be available when we have to take the final decision. Then we can decide which tools we can take out of this toolbox, and apply them for the safe organisation of these Olympic Games, about which both the Organising Committee and the IOC are very, very confident."

The IOC EB also agreed on an addendum to the Host City Contract, which has now been approved by all the relevant parties.

The IOC Coordination Commission and the Tokyo  2020 Organising Committee agreed today, 25 September, on a series of measures to make the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 fit for a post-corona world.

Developed in response to the postponement of this year’s Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50 measures have been designed to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in Games delivery.

In his opening remarks to the meeting participants, IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged the outstanding progress being made by Tokyo 2020, reinforcing his belief that next year’s Olympic Games will be the best prepared ever. He also emphasised that the coming months will require flexibility and creativity from everyone involved as the Tokyo organisers deliver Games fit for a post-corona world. In doing so, the IOC President offered his gratitude to all stakeholders, who are fully aligned with the measures being envisaged.

Today’s meeting provided the Coordination Commission with the opportunity to review the current list of measures, with more opportunities to be identified in the lead-up to the Games. These have been split into four main categories: stakeholders; infrastructure; promotion; and other areas of interest.

Examples of the initial measures include the reduction of stakeholder personnel attending the Games, streamlining transport services, adjusting spectator activities at competition venues and hosting a number of pre-Games meetings online.

Speaking after the meeting, Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said:

“Built from the principles outlined by the Joint IOC and Tokyo 2020 Steering Committee, these optimisations and simplifications mark an important step towards delivering a safe and successful Games in 2021. We owe it to the public to enact these measures during these challenging times, that’s why we’ve left no stone unturned and will continue to look for further opportunities over the coming months. The unique task of reorganising an Olympic Games has called for the Olympic Movement to be stronger together – this milestone illustrates our collective commitment. The ‘Tokyo Model’ will not only deliver a Games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future Organising Committees for many years to come.”

Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro added:

“Considering the current state of the world, we have been discussing how we will be able to deliver a safe and secure Games that can win public understanding in these challenging times. After we established a broader direction that the Games in 2021 should be simplified, we have been working closely together with the IOC, the IPC and various stakeholders such as IFs, NOCs, NPCs, partners and broadcasters, in every possible area that can contribute to simplifications. This process will benefit future society – becoming a role model for future global events as people adapt to living in the new normal. We will make all efforts to ensure that in the future the Tokyo 2020 Games will be a legacy. We will continue to work hard on simplifications towards next year and ask for the continued cooperation of all those involved in the Games.”

The measures were developed with support from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan. Important input was also obtained from key Olympic stakeholder groups, including National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, International Federations, Rights-Holding Broadcasters, media and TOP Partners.

With these measures now agreed, Tokyo 2020 will start estimating the provisional cost-savings that can be achieved, with a view to providing an update at the IOC Executive Board meeting in October.

COVID-19 Countermeasures

The IOC Coordination Commission also received an update on COVID-19 countermeasure planning. This detailed how the IOC, together with Tokyo 2020 and the All Partners Task Force, which includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the IPC, the Government of Japan and the TMG, with input from experts in relevant areas, have reviewed a range of scenarios. These consider the situation in Japan and globally, illustrating potential scenarios that could be in effect during the Games next year.

This strategic approach has been crucial to identifying possible countermeasures necessary to protect the health of all Games participants. It will also help build a framework for operational planning.

The possible countermeasures have been grouped into seven areas: travel/country access; physical distancing; personal protective equipment/cleaning; food and beverage; testing/tracking/isolating; information provision and vaccines.

As part of this process, the close cooperation between the IOC, International Federations and other event organisers was highlighted. This has provided vital input into an ongoing review of the best practices and key learnings taken from the resumption of sporting events in Japan and around the world.

Looking ahead, the Commission acknowledged that as countermeasures are further developed and reviewed, important discussions will continue to be conducted on a stakeholder-journey based approach, with a focus on athletes, Games-related personnel and spectators. These preparations will continue to evolve in line with the monitoring of the global situation and its impact on Games preparations.

Experienced Professionals to Support Team Ireland Following Robust Selection Process

Following a robust selection process, the Olympic Federation of Ireland today named the team of Medical Officers (MO) who will support Team Ireland athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Dr Alan Rankin was appointed as Deputy Chief Medical Officer and MO for the pre-games training camp in Fukoroi. Dr Suzi Clarke and Dr George Fuller will be based in Tokyo and Dr Frank O’Leary will lead the medical support in Sapporo. All four will work directly with Team Ireland Chief Medical Officer Dr Jim O’Donovan in the build up to, and throughout the Games period.

A key objective in the recruitment process was to ensure a seamless transition for athletes from their normal training and competition environment to the Olympic Games and Chief Medical Officer Dr Jim O’Donovan is satisfied with these appointments, acknowledging the continuity of care for athletes who will work with professionals with whom they are familiar. O’Donovan said,

A rigorous selection process has provided our medical team and athletes with the opportunity to work alongside some excellent, experienced and trusted colleagues from across Ireland.

Tokyo will provide a number of medical challenges and I am confident our doctors will fit in to our multi-disciplinary team seamlessly with a number of them working alongside our athletes and staff already. I am confident the knowledge, experience and expertise we now have within our medical team will ensure Team Ireland athletes are fully prepared and will help them achieve their goals.”  

Head of Performance Support Phil Moore added,

“The Medical team will be well-known to the Olympic athletes in Tokyo. One of our key criteria in the robust selection process was to ensure that there was a continuity of care for athletes going to the Games and this is a particularly strong feature of this team. There is a real depth of expertise in this medical team and strong working relationships with the athletes and coaches of Team Ireland.”    

In July the physiotherapy support team was announced for the Tokyo Olympic Games which will now take place from the 23 July to the 8 August 2021. Irish athletes are currently in the qualification stages across their sports, and at this stage there are 52 athlete spots confirmed already for Team Ireland.

One Year To Go – Team Ireland Ready for Tokyo 2020 Plus 1

Marking one year to go until the re-scheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo, Team Ireland Chef de Mission (more…)

Olympic Federation of Ireland plans for the future


The Board of the Olympic Federation of Ireland today (23 July) announced the appointment of Nancy Chillingworth as Chef de Mission for Beijing 2022 and the renewal of CEO, Peter Sherrard’s, contract to 2024. The Federation has also opened its recruitment process for the role of Chef de Mission at the European Games in 2023 and the Olympic Games in 2024.


Nancy Chillingworth was Team Ireland’s Chef de Mission at this year’s Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne and is the OFI’s pre-Games training camp manager for the Tokyo Olympic Games, overseeing arrangements for athletes and performance staff in Fukuroi and Hamamatsu prior to entering the Olympic Village in Tokyo.


She is employed by the Olympic Federation of Ireland as Performance Manager since 2019 and is also working to drive the Federation’s Winter Sports Strategy. Chillingworth, who has a background in sports psychology, has served as Chair of Hockey Ireland’s High Performance Committee. She came to the OFI having worked as Player Development Manager with Rugby Players Ireland and before that, as Performance Director for Paralympics Ireland during the very successful London and Rio Games cycles.


The OFI Board has also renewed the contract for its CEO, Peter Sherrard, through to December 2024. Sherrard was appointed by the OFI in early 2018 through to 2020. The new contract will allow him to continue to grow the organisation and oversee its development through the Olympic Games of Tokyo in 2021, Beijing 2022 and Paris in 2024.


OFI President, Sarah Keane, welcomed the appointments,


“We are delighted to have secured Peter’s leadership for the coming Olympic Cycle. He has brought a tremendous amount of energy to the role and has succeeded in making hugely positive advances for the Federation in a short space of time. He has been excellent to work with and brings a highly professional approach. As a Board we are very happy to have secured his services through to 2024.

Peter Sherrard, CEO OFI

“We also congratulate Nancy Chillingworth on her appointment as Chef de Mission for Beijing 2022. Nancy has already been involved in the planning process for the Games, having completed a site visit to each of the three Olympic venues in China in November 2019. She has also proved herself as part of Tricia Heberle’s Tokyo Games leadership team, and as Chef de Mission for the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne earlier this year. We are delighted to give her this well-deserved opportunity.”


Peter Sherrard OFI CEO said,


“I would like to thank Sarah Keane and the Board for making my job so fulfilling. Their strategic oversight and advice has been of major assistance to me in growing the OFI team and has made it much easier for me to deliver significant changes for the organisation over the past three years.


“I congratulate Nancy Chillingworth on her appointment as Chef de Mission for Beijing 2022. She has been a real asset to the Federation in the build up to Tokyo and we are very happy to have secured her expertise for this challenge in 2022.


Speaking on her appointment, Nancy Chillingworth, Team Ireland’s Chef de Mission for Beijing 2022 said, “This appointment is an honour for me and a project that I very much look forward to taking on. While a large part of my focus in the next year will be on preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games, it is ideal from a planning perspective that I can also continue and the develop the work that has started on planning for Beijing 2022.”


The OFI also announced that it is opening a recruitment process for the position of Chef de Mission for the European Games in 2023 and the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. With the Tokyo Olympic Games taking place in 2021 under the leadership of Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle, it is important that we start planning early for the next cycle. The successful candidate will report to the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s CEO, Peter Sherrard, and will work closely with the Performance Directors, Coaches, NGBs, the Sport Ireland Institute and the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland.


Applications are invited until Thursday 13 August, and full details on the position and how to apply can be found HERE

2023 European Games, and 2024 Olympic Games

Team Ireland Chef de Mission Appointment Process




The Chef de Mission (CDM) is responsible for leading Team Ireland’s preparations and performance at the Summer Olympic and European Games. The role requires strong leadership qualities, a detailed understanding of the Irish high performance system, and the ability to coordinate the multi-disciplinary functions required for a successful Games event.


The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) will endeavour to appoint the best person for this role through a well-structured and transparent process.  This will include both a written submission as per the requirements of the CDM position and an interview.


This process should be the vehicle for appointing a CDM for European Games in 2023 (EG) and Summer Olympic Games in Paris 2024 (SOG).  While ideally it may be the same person, an individual’s circumstances may not allow for this, therefore some flexibility may be required.

Terms of the CDM Role


The role will ideally encompass oversight for two significant projects during the next Olympic cycle. Consequently, it will start in 2021, with increasing workloads required in 2022-2024.


EG Krakow                         9 June – 25 June                             2023

SOG Paris                           26 July – 11 August                        2024


Remuneration will be commensurate with experience and competencies.


Role requirements and responsibilities are listed below.

If you believe that your experience, skills and ambition meet the requirements of this role, please forward an application to as per the below requirements:

Closing date for receipt of applications is 18:00hrs on Thursday 13 August 2020.



Team Ireland Chef de Mission (CDM)

Summer Olympic Games 2024, European Games 2023


Olympic Charter: Bye law to Rules 27 and 28 – Section 4 – Chef de Mission

During the period of the Olympic Games, the competitors, officials and other team personnel of a National Olympic Committee are placed under the management and responsibility of a Chef de Mission, appointed by his (or her) National Olympic Committee, to liaise with the IOC, the International Federations and the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games’.


Primary Role

To provide leadership, management and a high duty of care to Team Ireland athletes and staff at the Summer Olympic Games and European Games in order to deliver a cohesive and well organised level of service and support to enhance optimal performance.



Key Considerations for the CDM Role









Chef de Mission Role Requirements




Required Competencies

  1. Leadership


  1. Interpersonal


3.Business Management


  1. Personal Attributes



Chef de Mission Role Responsibilities

  1. Leads and represents the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) and Team Ireland (TI) members in all requirements and activities leading up to and at the Summer Olympics 2024 and European Games 2023;


  1. Leads operational and logistical planning requirements for both pre and in-games, working closely with the OFI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), staff and other key partners;


  1. In conjunction with the CEO and any other relevant key stakeholders, contributes to budget planning and decisions pertaining to investment and funding allocations for the conduct of all Olympic training, preparation events and value-add activities i.e. Holding Camp, team building activities;


  1. In collaboration with the CEO, and Games specific working groups, leads the identification and selection process for all staff, in particular Deputy Chef and Games Administrative support roles;


  1. Facilitates and contributes to the development of a Games orientation programme for all Team members prior to the Games i.e. Staff, Team Leaders, Coaches, SS/SM providers and Athletes;


  1. Works closely with the Athletes’ Commission and Athletes’ Commission Support Officer to ensure that the needs of athletes are being met and that the Commission can contribute to planning and relevant initiatives that align to the Athletes’ Commission Strategy;


  1. Liaises with various stakeholders, on behalf of the Team, namely funding and service partners, National Federations (NFs), athletes, coaches, managers, support team members, Games Organising Committee, Sport Ireland; other multi-sport organizations, High Commission or Consulate office, and other Chefs de Mission from NOCs;


  1. Is accountable for providing on-going relevant and timely information to all Team Ireland members and staff prior to and during the Games e.g. qualification and competition information, accreditation requirements, travel arrangements etc;


  1. Ensures that there is a high standard of preventative care and on-going education in the fields of anti-doping and manipulation of competition and reinforces the anti-doping and integrity messages.


  1. Ensures adherence of team and team members to OFI and IOC regulations / programmes as per OFI athlete agreements, national federation agreements, and IOC regulations.


  1. Represents Team Ireland at CDM meetings before and during the Games and addresses team concerns and or issues that arise, with the host Organising Committee and or appropriate personnel;


  1. Liaises with the Team Ireland Medical Team (Doctor and Physio/s) to ensure adherence to the OFI medical Policy and the provision of a high-quality medical support and physiotherapy care is provided to athletes and staff, including maintaining appropriate medical records of all consultations confidential and secure;


  1. Works closely with Team Leaders and/or Coaches to establish understanding of the OFI values and open lines of communication and accountability for the well-being and performance of all athletes and staff in their care;


  1. Establishes an appropriate day to day support, communication and information sharing system for all staff, whether they are located in the village or at outlying residential locations.


  1. Participates as a member of the Issues Management Team dealing with any major issues or crisis situations during the Games, in the first instance reporting to the CEO;


  1. Responsible for the preparation of any official NOC Games appeals, ensuring appropriate decision-making and communications with the CEO and relevant parties before this occurs;


  1. Works closely with the CEO in respect of the PR and communications strategy and any requirements or initiatives being facilitated through sponsors, external media partners and/or third parties;


  1. Ensures that social media protocols are in place and communicated to all Team Ireland members, respect of the appropriate use of social media before and during the Games;


  1. In conjunction with the CEO and primary Team Ireland media contact, assists in delivery of all Games media requests and opportunities for interviews and promotion of Team Ireland athletes and staff;


  1. Prepares, in conjunction with OFI staff, progress reports (Board Updates) and a final report for presentation to the OFI Board, Executive Committee, Athletes’ Commission and other key partners as required;


  1. Contributes to the formulation of appropriate Games debriefing and review mechanisms to capture feedback and relevant information from all Team Ireland members in respect of planning and the Games experience;


  1. Liaises with the Athletes’ Commission in determining review mechanisms that compliment rather than duplicate their processes for gathering athlete feedback on Games experience;


  1. Performs other duties as required and assigned by the CEO throughout the duration of the organisation and participation of Team Ireland at the Games and of the Team.


Accountable to – the CEO


Key Relationships – OFI President and Executive Committee, Athletes’ Commission and staff, Sport Irelans Institute, Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland, National Federations, host Organising Committees, Team Ireland support staff, Team Leaders, athletes and sport specific staff.


Experienced Professionals to Support Team Ireland Following Robust Selection Process


Following a robust selection process, the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle today named the team of physiotherapists who will support Team Ireland athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Paul Carragher and Julianne Ryan were appointed to support the team in Tokyo, while Eimear Crowley will be the physiotherapist in the holding camp in Fukuroi.


All three will work directly with Sports Physiotherapy Lead, Sarah-Jane McDonnell in the build up to, and throughout the Games period. They also join a group of sport specific physiotherapists who will be nominated by their sports for consideration and will be announced at the completion of Olympic qualification in 2021.





A key objective in the recruitment process was to ensure a seamless transition for athletes from their normal training and competition environment to the Olympic Games. Sports Physiotherapy Lead Sarah-Jane McDonnell is satisfied with these appointments, acknowledging the continuity of care for athletes who will work with professionals with whom they are familiar. McDonnell said,


“This familiarity is important for athletes and coaches when they reach the Olympic Games, the athletes can be confident that when they are competing on the greatest stage they are being looked after by people who know them and their management plans. These appointments a year out from the Games gives us all an opportunity to build on our team model for Games support. The physiotherapists appointed are highly qualified and experienced practitioners who are currently embedded in many of the NGBs.”


Head of Performance Support Phil Moore added, “The physiotherapy team will be well-known to the Olympic athletes in Tokyo. One of our key criteria in the robust selection process was to ensure that there was a continuity of care for athletes going to the Games. There is a real depth of expertise in this team and strong working relationships with the Olympic sports.”    


The Olympic Games were originally meant to take place in Tokyo this summer and will now run from the 23 July to the 8 August 2021, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first time that an Olympic Games has been postponed.  Irish athletes are currently in the qualification stages across their sports.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Executive Board (EB) agreed during a virtual meeting today to maintain the previously set deadline of December 2020 to confirm the event programme and athlete quotas for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, including consideration of the events in the four additional sports proposed by the Organising Committee. This decision is based on the recommendation of the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) after receiving feedback from the athletes, International Sports Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Paris 2024.

The IOC EB underlined that the decision should be based on the following previously established key principles:

- Reducing the overall athlete quota (including for all new sports) to 10,500;

- Achieving gender equal participation across the Olympic Games at event and discipline level where possible;

- Prioritising new events that accommodate athletes within the sport’s existing quota allocation; and

- New events only if there are existing venues.

“The exceptional situation caused by COVID-19 requires exceptional measures. Therefore, any decision concerning the event programme for Paris 2024 should reflect Olympic Agenda 2020, including a new phase of the ‘New Norm’. The IOC EB has reiterated the vital importance of reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Games, particularly concerning venue requirements,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “For the event programme, we have maintained the December 2020 deadline, even though new sports can now not be tested on the Olympic stage, but we need to give certainty to the concerned athletes, their NOCs and Federations and the Organising Committee.

With the confirmation of the original deadline, December’s IOC EB meeting will now see a decision made on requests from 20 of the 27 Olympic International Federations for changes to the Paris 2024 event programme.

In addition, confirmation of the inclusion of the four additional sports proposed by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee – breaking, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing – will also be determined at December’s meeting, having provisionally been approved at the IOC Session in June 2019.

The timeline was originally approved by the IOC EB in June 2017. It aligned with the original dates for Tokyo 2020, and was compliant with Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to 2021, it was necessary for the OPC to review the timeline in case changes needed to be made. The review considered the impact on and feedback from key stakeholders, including the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, IFs, NOCs and, of course, the athletes.

Following this feedback, the OPC decided to propose to the IOC EB that the original deadline be maintained in order to provide certainty to all the involved parties, so that they could plan accordingly. This will help athletes to prepare and secure funding from the appropriate bodies, while Paris 2024, IFs and NOCs will be able to advance with their venue, financial, and logistical planning.

The dates for the IOC EB meeting in December 2020 will be confirmed within the coming months.



The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are set to start on the 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August 2021. This announcement was made following an IOC Executive Board meeting today. The Opening Ceremony of the XXXII Olympic Games had been scheduled for the 24 July this year and were forced to be postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The delay of one year was agreed by the board following discussions with the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the International Federations.


The confirmation of a date provides clarity for the Olympic Federation of Ireland who can begin work on the addressing the operational adjustments that need to take place following this reschedule.


Speaking today, Chef de Mission for Team Ireland in Tokyo, Tricia Heberle welcomed the clarification of a date,


“Now the athletes have a start date for the Games, they can work with their Performance Directors and coaches to start mapping out preparations. Importantly for athletes and sport, the next information we need clarity on are any changes to qualification and the rescheduling of qualification events. This will take some time, so in the short term the focus remains the same, stay healthy and safe over the coming months.


“The priority now is for everyone to following the government guidelines to protect Ireland and the rest of the world against further spread of this virus. A July 2021 start means that we have plenty of time to reactivate preparatory plans and for athletes currently in modified training or on a break of sorts, this period of time can still allow some positive impact on performance.


“If we are smart, this enforced break can make Team Ireland even better.”


For the full IOC statement CLICK HERE

The Olympic Federation of Ireland welcomes the decision to postpone the Summer Olympic Games to 2021, considering the current global crisis. Given the fast developments around the world with the Covid-19 pandemic, this the correct decision under difficult circumstances.


The focus for Team Ireland now will be on protecting and safeguarding the Irish athletes over the coming months and ensuring that they can bounce back to full training and be in peak condition for a successful Games in 2021.


The Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO, Peter Sherrard welcomed the call, acknowledging the complexities involved in postponing the Games saying,


“This is the right call given the times that we are in. Nonetheless we recognize it was a difficult call for Japan to make, and we are looking forward to working with the IOC and countries all over the world to make Tokyo 2021 a poignant moment for the whole world once these difficult times are over.”


Tokyo Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle added,


“This decision, while totally appropriate, will impact on sport and our athletes in different ways, there will be mixed emotions. Our focus is to continue to engage with and support our sports as we gather as much information to determine how this will impact on both athletes who have already qualified and those who are on the path to qualification.”


For the full IOC statement CLICK HERE.


Health and safety paramount as IOC Executive Board agrees to step up scenario-planning for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

To safeguard the health of all involved and to contribute to the containment of COVID-19, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that the IOC will step up its scenario-planning for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games. This step will allow better visibility of the rapidly changing development of the health situation around the world and in Japan. It will serve as the basis for the best decision in the interest of the athletes and everyone else involved.

On the one hand, there are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame. This could strengthen the IOC’s confidence in the Japanese hosts that the IOC could, with certain safety restrictions, organise Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting its principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved.

On the other hand, there is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the EB to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning.

A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges.

Therefore, further to the study of different scenarios, it would need the full commitment and cooperation of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese authorities, and of all the International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). It would also require commitment from, and collaboration with, the Rights-Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) and our TOP Partner sponsors, as part of their continued and valued support to the Olympic Movement, as well as cooperation from all the Games’ partners, suppliers and contractors. It is in this spirit of the Olympic stakeholders’ shared commitment to the Olympic Games, and in light of the worldwide deteriorating situation, that the IOC EB has today initiated the next step in the IOC’s scenario-planning.

The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement. The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the NOCs and IFs in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning.

The IOC EB emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda.

After the EB meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach today wrote to the global athlete community to provide them with an explanation of the IOC’s approach.

In the letter, Bach stated once more that safeguarding the health of everyone involved and contributing to contain the virus is the fundamental principle, and said: “Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

The Olympic flame for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was lit today in Ancient Olympia, Greece. This marks the start of its journey to Japan where, in only 134 days, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad will begin. As a symbol of peace and hope, the Olympic Flame will now travel on towards Tokyo, conveying the Olympic Values.

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach and several guests joined the lighting ceremony, showing their unified support for the Games. These included the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee acting President, Toshiaki Endo, IOC Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates and Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos.

“This ceremony demonstrates once more our commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Nineteen weeks before the Opening Ceremony, we are strengthened in this commitment by the many authorities and sports organisations around the world which are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.


“At the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 we will stand together, united in all our diversity. We will be united by our commitment to the Olympic values. We will be united by our emotions. This makes each and every one of us a member of this unique Olympic community. This Olympic community will show the entire world that our shared humanity is stronger than all the forces that want to divide us,” he added.

In his speech during the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony, President Bach also praised the Organising Committee: “Our Japanese friends are interpreting the noble mission of the Olympic Games in an outstanding way. Japan will demonstrate its ground-breaking innovation and boundless creative energy with regard to sustainability, technology and human-centred growth,” said the IOC President.

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee acting President Toshiaki Endo said: “The Olympic Torch Relay in Greece is the origin of so many wonderful episodes and stories, and I very much hope that the torch relay that begins today will engender many dreams and aspirations, and bring hope for tomorrow.”

Held near the Temple of Hera, the traditional ceremony celebrates the Olympic Games Greek heritage, reaffirming the connection between the modern Games and their historic origins.

During his visit, President Bach also offered his gratitude to the Hellenic Olympic Committee and its President, IOC Member Spyros Capralos, for the close cooperation with the Greek government to ensure the flame lighting could take place despite the COVID-19 virus. Given the unprecedent circumstances the world is facing, the health and safety of the thousands of torchbearers, spectators and staff will be the first priority along the route of the Olympic Torch Relay both in Greece and Japan.

Following the ceremony, the Olympic torch began its journey with Olympic gold medallist from Rio 2016, Anna Korakaki from Greece. It was then passed to Japanese athlete Noguchi Mizuki, the winner of the women’s marathon race at the Olympic Games Athens 2004.

A week-long tour of Greece then follows before the Japan leg of the Olympic Torch Relay begins on 26 March. There, supported by four Presenting Partners, including Worldwide Olympic Partners Coca-Cola and Toyota, around 10,000 torchbearers will carry it through all 47 prefectures, incorporating 859 local municipalities, for a period of 121 days, before arriving in Tokyo for the Opening Ceremony.

Once the flame is lit at the Olympic Stadium on 24 July, just over 11,000 athletes, representing 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team will compete in what will be the first gender-balanced Olympic Games in history.

IOC President Thomas Bach’s full speech can be downloaded here




© 2020 Olympic Federation of Ireland.
Registered in Dublin No. 82262.
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