IOC President Thomas Bach Says Olympic Cancellation Is “Not on the Agenda”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach defended his organization’s handling of a decision regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in an interview with a German television and radio outlet on Saturday.

The 66-year old, who is currently quarantined in his home office in Lausanne, Switzerland on Lake Geneva, Bach acknowledged that there were “no ideal solutions” to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact upon athletes’ preparations for the Olympic Games.

Bach, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in fencing for West Germany, has experience with Olympic conflicts: he was due to compete at the 1980 Olympic Games, which West Germany boycotted along with several other nations, including the United States.

Bach emphatically said that “A cancellation is not on the agenda.”

“Such a denial would be the least fair solution,” Bach said of the decision. “The cancellation would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC refugee team. You cannot postpone Olympic Games like a soccer game to next Saturday. This is a very complex business, where you can only act responsibly if you have reliable and clear bases for decision-making, and we monitor this every day, 24 hours a day.”

Bach’s plea was for more time and patience for the IOC to make the best decision.

“We have to concentrate on finding a reliable basis for decision-making.”

Among the complications with postponement is that the housing that makes up the current athletes’ village has already been sold. 4,000 units will be sold as condos, and another 1,600 will be rented. With 11,000 athletes, coaches, and officials descending upon the city, finding space to house them without the village is a major complication. Programs like these that push to repurpose Olympic venues and facilities are a big part of the growing sustainability programs as the Games have become a financial anchor around the neck of recent host cities.

For reference, average sales prices per square foot of a Tokyo apartment in 2019 was about $7,800. That’s about 5 times the rate in Manhattan, the United States’ priciest market.

This led Bach to ponder a potential alteration of the vision of a postponed Olympic Games, and how to manage this and other conflicts that would arise.

Bach says that he is working on a solution to the problem. That, in-and-of-itself, is the strongest indication yet from inside the IOC’s leadership that a postponement is a real possibility. To date, the IOC’s messaging has been entirely around sending the Games off in July as scheduled, with only a few contributors to the movement dissenting.

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Doconc
1 year ago

What a fool! He is in quarantine but “not on the agenda?” Guess the check hasn’t cleared yet

cynthia curran
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

I agree. Track and Field also support delaying it and unlike swimming an over taper will not have a negative on performance as much. The athletes would not mind delaying it by a year.

Too cool for the pool
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

Hey man, don’t wanna get on his bad side. Mans got Fencing skills, don’t want him stabbing at me

Yuri
1 year ago

If the situation isn’t gonna get better, of course we will cancel the event, but why do so many people want to cancel the Games MORE THAN 4 MONTHS IN ADVANCE ?

BobbyJones
Reply to  Yuri
1 year ago

Cause a lot cant train…. Besides Australia not sure who else is training…

Yuri
Reply to  BobbyJones
1 year ago

Thanks for being honest and say the real reason.

Vic
Reply to  BobbyJones
1 year ago

I think Russia isn’t fazed.

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  BobbyJones
1 year ago

Many Asian countries are. At least Japan.

Ragnar
1 year ago

Some organizations need a factory reset, starting at the top

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Ragnar
1 year ago

Countries

swimfan210_
1 year ago

I thought everyone wanted to postpone not cancel it?

Ragnar
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

No one said anything about an outright cancellation. The IOC just needs to say “its obviously not gonna be in July because that would be crazy, we’re indefinitely postponing it and will let you know what to expect when life settles down.”

BDW
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

Agree. Some of the comments here seem to be missing the point. Cancellation is off the table, but postponement needs to be considered/planned carefully.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

You assume that, but that’s a big assumption.

It could very well be one of 2 options: on or off.

Especially given the infrastructure needed to pull off an Olympic games (which is actually part of this exact article re: the Olympic village which will be people’s actual homes a month later).

A swimmer in a ocean
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

I have heard that they can’t postpone it, they would have to postpone it by an whole year because if they postpone it by some months they will not be able to compete in some sports. So, it’s olympics in 2020 or 2021 in summer time

Kristiina
1 year ago

Empty stands and quarantine before olympics and paralympics. Paralympic must began 10.august after Olympics. Tokyo home quarantine 1,5 month and athletes quarantine inside venues and Olympic village is possible.

Ragnar
Reply to  Kristiina
1 year ago

Empty stands=not safe for people=not safe for athletes. Pools/Gyms/fields closed=overall unprepared athletes, no one wants to see that, it’s not fair to the majority of athletes or their health. 2021 is the only way

Kristiina
Reply to  Ragnar
1 year ago

Most athletes can not training.

Pvdh
1 year ago

Daddy Brian Roberts has spoken

Gheko
1 year ago

Just make a decision, one way or the other otherwise countries will just boycott the event anyway

Madscientist
1 year ago

Wonder what they think about as far as Winter Olympics during influenza outbreak…on that’s every year.

Chump
Reply to  Madscientist
1 year ago

People can still train during flu season. Most athletes are struggling to find places to train because everything is shut down. I live in the northeast and I don’t know a single pool that hasn’t shut down.

Swimfish87
Reply to  Chump
1 year ago

Let me just say this. I live in central Indiana where, I can find 18 50m HIGH SCHOOLS pools that are closed within 20 miles of me. Even more just 25y pools. For me to say I can’t find a pool to swim in that is saying something. This is not fare to the athletes one bit.

Swimpop
Reply to  Swimfish87
1 year ago

18 50m pools within 20 miles of you? Damn, I don’t think we have more than 10 in all of Colorado.

And yeah, umm, just announce the postponement now with the TBD verbiage for Christ sake.

Muthuraman
Reply to  Chump
1 year ago

Announcing postponement now will save a lot in training cost, health hazard, safety of players, and a lot…I live in Maryland, USA and find no training grounds, pools, tracks are open now for athlets to train…situation gets grimmer everyday….Instead of outright cancellation, the games can be postponed by few months…Even the host country too is suffering a lot and has to get back its strength which may take a few months..Many small countries have not even commenced training their participants due to the pandemic..Hope the Olympic Committee will take care of the situation.

Cate
Reply to  Madscientist
1 year ago

There’s a vaccine for the flu. As a “mad scientist”, I would think you would know that.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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