Scaled-down Olympics re­ceives JOA sup­port

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Liv­ingston Scott/Gleaner Writer liv­ingston.scott@glean­erjm.com

PRES­I­DENT OF the Ja­maica Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion (JOA), Christo­pher Sa­muda, is in full sup­port of a scaled-down ver­sion of the Olympic Games once the coronaviru­s crisis is not brought un­der con­trol ahead of next year’s Tokyo in­stal­ment.

The 2020 Olympic Games was sched­uled to take place in Ja­pan this sum­mer, but the cur­rent coronaviru­s pan­demic has forced the post­pone­ment of the Games to 2021.

As a re­sult, the Ja­panese of­fi­cials are con­tem­plat­ing re­duc­ing the Games, with fewer spec­ta­tors al­lowed and quar­an­tine re­quire­ments for ath­letes and of­fi­cials.

“If the cir­cum­stances dic­tate that we should have a scaled-down ver­sion of the Games in the in­ter­est of safety, health and wel­fare of the ath­letes, then the JOA must sup­port that or stand re­spon­si­bly,” Sa­muda told The Gleaner.

“The gov­ern­ing con­sid­er­a­tion must be the health of our ath­letes, and if there is any risk to that, we must sup­port any mea­sure that will safe­guard the wel­fare of our ath­letes,” he added.

“We all have to live in the new dis­pen­sa­tion, which will be a scaled-down Games. The num­bers will have to be crunched quite sen­si­bly in or­der to have the best Games, with­out de­stroy­ing it. So the safety and wel­fare must be gov­erned by (the Ja­panese) gov­ern­ment, and those con­sid­er­a­tions must be ap­plied with­out killing the spirit of the Games,” Sa­muda said.

He says a scaled-down Games would also mean that the gloss around the Olympics would be lost.

NOT-SO-GRAND EVENT

“This will no doubt af­fect the ethos of the Games, fan-based sup­port and, cer­tainly, rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. The Games will not be the grand spec­ta­cle that we have grown ac­cus­tomed to.

“But we just have to re­work the pro­gramme in the new par­a­digm. The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC), the Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tees, the me­dia; all have a role to play in pre­serv­ing for our youth and next gen­er­a­tion of ath­letes this op­por­tu­nity, which the Olympic Games al­low them to ex­cel and be the finest ver­sion of them­selves,” Sa­muda added.

Some ex­perts have es­ti­mated that the Games could over­run its orig­i­nal bud­get by up to US$6 bil­lion, but Sa­muda be­lieves the IOC has the fi­nan­cial mus­cle to cush­ion such a fi­nan­cial fall­out.

“The IOC in­di­cated that there are con­se­quen­tial losses, but I would imag­ine there are suf­fi­cient (fi­nan­cial) re­serves that will per­haps cush­ion it,” Sa­muda stated. “But they are go­ing to have to be­come very cre­ative go­ing forward in en­sur­ing that there is rev­enue gen­er­a­tion in or­der to fill that gap, but I am sure they will work out the method where that is con­cerned.

“We are go­ing to have to cur­tail our own or­gan­i­sa­tion at the Games to en­sure we com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions and pro­to­cols. A scaled-down Games would af­fect num­bers, so we would make ad­just­ment. But if you don’t have a large con­tin­gent, then you are not go­ing to have to spend as you nor­mally do, so it won’t ad­versely af­fect us. But even if we have to cut back the ex­pense, it will not be as great as in the past,” Sa­muda said.

FILE

In this March 30, 2020 file photo, the Olympic rings are seen in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot pre­vi­ously sched­uled for this year’s Games.

SA­MUDA

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