Bach lauds Rio, tells Tokyo ‘to show the way’
The head of the International Olympic Committee yesterday praised the Rio Games for overcoming significant difficulties, while urging 2020 host Tokyo to put its own stamp on the event.
IOC President Thomas Bach addressed the close of a debriefing event held in Tokyo to reflect on Rio’s experiences and share tips with future host cities.
Rio, faced “extremely difficult political circumstances in Brazil”, Bach said via live video from Switzerland, adding it also faced “financial, social and ethical” issues.
Despite that, the Games were “the most consumed games ever in Olympic history,” he said, adding this was down to the hard work of the organisers.
The 2016 Rio Olympics were generally seen as successful despite Brazil’s political and economic crisis as well as security and attendance problems. The three-day meeting drew senior officials from the IOC and Olympic organisers from both Rio and Tokyo as well as their respective mayors. But it was focused mostly on broad issues including logistics, planning and communication, while problems that have plagued the Olympics such as doping were not on the agenda, officials said.
“The topic was not discussed,” IOC official Christophe Dubi, told a press conference after the meeting.
“However it’s fair to recognise the report that has been produced,” he added, referring to a November 2015 bombshell World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) study that unveiled systematic state-sponsored doping and corruption.
Among other attendees were South Korea’s Pyeongchang, host of the Winter Games in 2018, and Beijing, which is holding them in 2022. Bach said Tokyo should “show the way for future organisers how well Olympic Games can be organised in a sustainable and feasible way.”
Tokyo vice governor Takashi Yamamoto also praised Rio and said the Japanese capital will follow in its footsteps.
“Even with financial constraints, Rio achieved success by tapping private sector capital,” he said at the meeting. “That’s something Tokyo must learn from.”
Tokyo is under intense pressure to slash costs amid warnings that the 2022 Games could cost an eye-popping $30 billion-four times the initial estimate and almost triple that of the 2012 London Olympics.
On Tuesday, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike dropped a proposal to move a canoeing and rowing venue outside the capital, instead vowing to cut construction costs on that and another facility, while delaying a decision on whether to build a new volleyball facility or use an existing one. —AFP
IOC President Thomas Bach