Tokyo 2020 to be a "simplified" Olympic Games

IOC and Games organisers looking at over 200 areas which could be simplified

By ZK Goh

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will proceed in a simplified manner in 2021, Games organisers and the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday (10 June).

Muto Toshiro, CEO of the Games' organising committee (TOCOG), said: "The Games will not be done with grand splendour," while TOCOG president Mori Yoshiro noted: "The Olympics has always provided encouragement and hope but when you think about the current situation worldwide the splash and splendour we have been accustomed to may not be the most appropriate."

However, IOC President Thomas Bach ruled out removing events from the Olympic Games in the first instance. "Our focus is the athletes. It would be the wrong end to start from if we take decisions first to reduce the number of athletes and deprive them of participating in the Olympic Games."

A joint task force formed by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers also released their proposed path forward to the Games in three documents – on positioning, principles, and a roadmap detailing a proposed schedule until the Games – following a report by TOCOG to the IOC Executive Board, which met by teleconference on Wednesday.

The Games will be "an unprecedented celebration of unity and solidarity" with the aim of being "a symbol of hope, resilience, and the power of humanity working together as one", the positioning document says.

It adds: "Tokyo 2020 is focused on athletes, sustainable development, recovery, reconstruction and the power of sports to help communities find a better future." Simplifying the Games will be done with these visions in mind as a framework.

IOC President Bach chairs the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne at Olympic House on 10 June 2020. (Photo: Greg Martin/IOC)

Games simplification

In its principles document, the joint task force states its main principle is to "simplify and optimise the Games preparation and delivery, while keeping a focus on sport and athletes, to reduce the cost impact of postponement and promote public interest, reflecting the new global economic, societal and public health contexts."

TOCOG CEO Muto said various parties "must act in unison" for a simplified Games to come to fruition.

"In order to simplify the Games, we need to review and understand international federations, National Olympic Committees, broadcasters and partners."

He added that Tokyo 2020 and the IOC have looked at more than 200 service areas that could be streamlined.

However, he added: "Athletes and the competition are at the heart of the Olympics. That remains unchanged. We need to make them the highest priority."

Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi gave further details into some of the service levels being considered for simplification, including potentially cancelling some remaining test events.

"Quantities, do we need all the space? Do we need all the goods and services? We sometimes over-plan and under-consume," he said. "Operations, we have a set of test events that could not be delivered due to the coronavirus. Do we need all of these test events? Each of these events to deliver, we will review. Venues, see where outside of the field of play we can simplify. Can we have less resources?

"The work is ongoing, it will take time, but the result will be positive."

President Bach added: "We have no stone to be left unturned, and to see first of all the reduction in service levels, the many 'nice to have' things in the Games."

Resolution against racism

The IOC Executive Board also adopted a resolution regarding racism and inclusion, which President Bach read out at the start of a virtual briefing with reporters.

It reads, in part:

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemns racism in the strongest terms.

The IOC stands for non-discrimination as one of the founding pillars of the Olympic Movement, which is reflected in the Olympic Charter, Fundamental Principle 6:

“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

President Bach added that the IOC Athletes Commission would work with its athletes representatives around the world towards finding a way for athletes to be able to "express their support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter in a dignified way".

However, he said there needed to be a clear difference between "such support, and potentially divisive demonstrations. We are looking forward to the input from the IOC Athletes Commission on this topic."

The Executive Board also discussed the McLaren Independent Investigation Report into the International Weightlifting Federation, the re-allocation of medals, and the election of new IOC Members.