Tokyo 2020 advances preparations for Games fit for a post-corona world

Earlier today, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee presented a number of updates to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB), focused on developments relating to the impact of COVID-19 as they prepare to deliver Games fit for a post-corona world.

Tokyo 2020 advances preparations for Games fit for a post-corona world
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Speaking after the meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “As part of the COVID countermeasures, the IOC has elaborated, together with Tokyo 2020 and all other stakeholders, including of course the Athletes’ Commission, on joint guidelines which should serve all the 206 National Olympic Committees as a framework for the period of their stay in the Olympics.

“We think that this is absolutely necessary, because we need to reduce and minimise the number of residents in the Olympic Village to minimise the risk of COVID exposure. At the same time, we wanted to maintain the athletes’ experience. We wanted to be balanced with the considerations about athletic performance and also with attendance at the Opening Ceremony.”

In their presentation, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto shared the latest budget updates with the IOC EB. This follows a meeting with representatives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan at which the allocation of the additional costs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was agreed.

COVID-19 was also covered by Muto in his summary of the interim report on proposed countermeasures for athletes, spectators and Games staff. This was published on 2 December following the latest Three Party Council meeting on this subject, involving the Government of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo 2020.

As part of these proposed COVID-19 countermeasures, the IOC presented the joint guidelines, applicable to all 206 National Olympic Committees (NOC) and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, on the period of stay in the Olympic Village.

The objective of these guidelines is to ensure that all NOCs minimise the number of residents residing in the village, thereby minimising the risks to COVID-19 exposure, whilst balancing considerations relating to athlete performance, acclimatisation for the Games and attendance at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The guidelines direct NOCs to adapt their arrival and departure policies to ensure that athletes can arrive at the Olympic Village five days prior to the start of their competition and depart a maximum of two days after their completion of competition. Some period of stay exceptions will be considered subject to certain sport specific criteria.

Athletes were central to the decision-making process for these guidelines, with IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Kirsty Coventry also Co-Chair of the Working Group on this matter. The principles of these guidelines were presented to the IOC Athletes’ Commission in November before it received the detailed Guidelines for feedback in advance of this week’s IOC EB. It was noted that the IOC Athletes’ Commission fully supports the plans to put athlete health first and adapt the time residents will be in the Olympic Village.

These guidelines will be published as part of a series of evolving “playbooks” by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 from January 2021, with each NOC responsible for creating, communicating and enforcing their respective arrival and departure policies based on these guidelines.

As an overall conclusion, both the IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates, in his written report, and Tokyo 2020 highlighted the continued progress being made in Tokyo under challenging circumstances. Despite this, both Muto and Coates expressed the strength in collaboration amongst all Olympic stakeholders as Games preparations reach a crucial phase with little more than 200 days to go until the Games begin next July.