At the G20 Summit, leaders of world nations and the World Health Organization expressed support for next summer’s Olympic Games, despite the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
The G20 Summit took place Saturday and Sunday. It was originally scheduled to be in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, but with the coronavirus pandemic worsening across much of the world, the summit was held virtually.
The Summit brought together leaders of 26 nations and the European Union. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was invited to address the world leaders, and asked for solidarity among nations while emphasizing the importance of sports:
“Sport can save lives,” Bach said, according to the IOC’s press release. “During this coronavirus crisis, we all have seen how important sport is for physical and mental health.”
Bach pointed to the need for solidarity within and among societies, calling the upcoming Olympics a celebration of solidarity.
The Summit produced a declaration commending Japan’s plans to continue to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2021.
“As a symbol of humanity’s resilience and global unity in overcoming COVID19, we commend Japan’s determination to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year,” the declaration said. “We look forward to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.”
World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO was working with the IOC to help the Summer Olympics go on in 2021.
“I would like to welcome Prime Minister Suga, and assure him that WHO is working with the International Olympic Committee to make next year’s Tokyo Olympics a success, and a symbol of hope for the world,” Ghebreyesus said.
The Tokyo Summer Olympics were rescheduled from July-August of 2020 to July-August of 2021. As of now, they are set to begin on July 23. The 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing in February of 2022.