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AOC Communication

Tuesday 31st March 2020

RE: AOC Update

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is focused on preparing an Australian Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will now be held in 2021.

The AOC welcomes the announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee that the Games have been rescheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The announcement will provide further clarity for athletes and their sports to plan their preparation and for the AOC to focus on getting the Australian Team to the Games in a way that creates the best opportunity for each athlete to perform at their best.

Selections for the Australian Team will stand - and athletes and Teams who have qualified will not have to re-qualify. 

Remaining qualification systems are being discussed by the IOC with International Federations including making any necessary modifications to account for the postponement of the Games. For example, in football - the Under 23 age provision which impacts the Olyroos.

The AOC has placed athlete safety as its highest priority and commends the decision in late March by the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese Government, the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to postpone the Games.  

Public health measures designed to ensure the health and safety of all Australians have impacted on the capacity of Olympic athletes to train and travel.

We will continue to communicate with our athletes and sports. These are difficult times for them – it’s a difficult time for the whole community. 

Our advice for athletes is to focus on their own health and safety, and the wellbeing of those close to them. 

The AOC is rolling out a health and wellbeing program, providing athletes with information and resources to help them manage. This includes live forums that athletes can dial into with subject matter experts on-hand to answer questions. 

The IOC and Tokyo’s Organising Committee have an enormous amount of work to get through – but they will prepare a wonderful Games.

In these tough times, the prospect of an Olympic Games in Tokyo next year will be something to be celebrated and give people hope.

Qualification and Selection
Athletes already selected for the Games, remain selected in the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo Games next year.

Further, the IOC has confirmed that athletes and Teams who have qualified will not have to re-qualify. Teams such as the Matildas and Olyroos, the Men’s and Women’s Rugby Teams, the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras, the Boomers and Opals – will not have to re-qualify.  

Health and Wellbeing
Launching Friday March 27, the AOC is conducting weekly online sessions with athletes, to keep up to date with relevant news, experts leading discussions on health and wellbeing, financial literacy, staying connected and other subjects.

The sessions will run each Tuesday afternoon on a live platform with weekly expert guests providing the opportunity for athletes, staff and others to learn and engage. 

Commercial
The AOC has received a very positive and supportive response from its commercial partners. We are in discussion with the partner family to extend their rights to the Games in 2021, requiring no additional investment from them.

Our partners are also focused on AOC community and other programs that promote Olympic ideals and values in the community. 

The AOC does not seek or receive any Federal Government funding. 

Expenditure aimed at getting the Team to and from the Olympic Games this year will be transferred to next year. This includes travel and accommodation.

Team kit and uniform has been manufactured with Tokyo 2020 livery. These will be used at the Games next year.

Ticketing
CoSport is working with the IOC and the TOCOG to plan and follow new processes. 

They have indicated tickets purchased with be honoured in for the Games in 2021.

CoSport has advised ticket buyers to regularly check CoSport.com/update and they are also communicating with customers directly. They have indicated they will have more information as soon as it is available.

MIF Funding for Athletes
Athletes will continue to receive AOC medal incentive funding based on results already achieved. The extension of the MIF program for an extra year will allow athletes to prepare properly for the Games next year.

AGM Going Ahead in a virtual format
In line with Australian Government requirements during the COVID-19 crisis, the Annual General Meeting of the AOC will take place on Saturday May 9th as a digital or virtual AGM.

Operational Planning
AOC efforts now focused on delivering Australia’s Olympic Team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from July 23 to August 8, 2021. We are mindful that  Task Force “Here we Go” has been established by the IOC, Japanese Government, TOCOG and Tokyo Metropolitan Government to initiate the planning for the massive task of moving the Games to a new timeframe in 2021 which is yet to be decided by the IOC.

 

Wednesday 25th March 2020

AOC welcomes postponed Tokyo Olympic Games

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has welcomed the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee (TOCOG) to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games until next year.

The AOC recognises that the Games’ organisers have an enormous task ahead of them to move the Tokyo Olympics to next year but have no doubt that Japan will put on a great Olympic Games.

AOC CEO Matt Carroll says it’s a challenging moment in history during tragic times globally, but athletes and sports now have absolute clarity that enables them to focus on a Games in 2021.

“The IOC has received fresh advice from the World Health Organisation. The pandemic is accelerating, and this decision recognises that. 

“As President Bach has noted, “Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games.”

“The Games have never been postponed previously. But I have no doubt that when the world moves past these very difficult times, the Tokyo Olympic Games will provide an opportunity for the world to reconnect in a spirit of unity and hope. Japan is up to the task and they will do a great job.

“In the meantime, we also will work through the implications of the postponement with all our member sports, their athletes and our partners so we can deliver an Australian Olympic Team to Tokyo next year who will make Australians proud. 

“Many Australians are trying to cope with vast challenges to their health and their livelihoods. We desperately hope that we can all meet these challenges and that our Australian athletes attending the Games in 2021 can contribute to restoring hope and national spirit,” Mr Carroll said.

 

 

Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman praised the response of Australia’s Olympians and aspiring athletes. 

“We know that there has been great relief and acceptance from our athletes with the news from the IOC and Japan. Our athletes have been magnificent working their way through some very difficult times during recent weeks. 

 “Their world, as athletes and as members of the Australian community, has been turned on its head.
“All along, they have been conscious of the plight of their peers around the globe and the reality here in the Australian community, as we live through these unprecedented events. 

“We will continue to communicate with athletes and sports to provide further clarity around the critical issues.

“We understand that those athletes and teams who have been qualified will not be required to re-qualify. That will give the athletes some comfort – but we will await further details on that process.

“Our key message at the moment though is to stay safe and keep those around you safe. There are some tough times ahead but at least we now know we have a new goal and the planning will start straight away.” 

The AOC is implementing a range of initiatives to promote athlete health and well-being, providing regular communication with information and resources to help them manage.

 

Monday 23rd March 2020

AOC plans for postponed Olympic Games

The AOC says Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, following the IOC’s announcement of a potential postponement of this year’s Games and changes in public health landscape in Australia and across the globe.

The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their National Federations.

The AOC held an Executive Board meeting via teleconference this morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.

AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll says athletes have needed certainty - they wanted to do the right thing for themselves, their families and the world community.

“We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs. With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation.

“The IOC had adopted the key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport. This decision reflects those principles.

“We are now in a position where we can plan with greater certainty.”

“I would like to thank AOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Steve Hooker for his valuable contribution to discussions today and over the last week, representing the views of our athletes,” Mr Carroll said.

Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo Ian Chesterman says he has communicated to athletes after receiving feedback from athletes from more than 25 sports last week.

“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July. Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.

“They have also shouldered the burden of concern for their peers around the world. That has been a consistent message to me.”

“While there will still be much to work out as a result of this change, the timing will allow athletes from around the world to properly prepare with the hope the coronavirus crisis will be under control.

“We are aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues. But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity.”

Mr Chesterman said there were numerous issues that flow from any postponement, from qualification through to logistics on the ground in Tokyo, but that these can be worked through in a timely way.

Mr Carroll says he will be communicating with National Federations around Australia today to work through the issues now the situation has become clearer.

 

Saturday 21st March 2020

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) fully understands the sentiments expressed by our swimmers.

They are completely consistent with the Olympic principles of fair play.

The swimmers have also expressed a desire to keep training and they want to compete in Tokyo.

That’s also consistent with the valuable feedback presented to the AOC Executive this week by the AOC Athletes’ Commission.

Athletes from a wide range of sports overwhelmingly indicated that they want to compete in Tokyo and they will keep preparing, even though the current situation is uncertain and difficult for them.

That feedback also expressed concern our athletes had for their peers around the world whose capacity to train has been dramatically impacted by local public health measures.

The AOC will keep informing athletes of its ongoing planning to ensure their safety as they prepare, travel to and compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

We will also maintain two-way contact with athletes and their National Federations throughout the time ahead.

 

 

Thursday 19th March 2020

AOC plans for Athlete and officials’ safety in COVID-19 World

The AOC will continue its planning and preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games with athlete and official health and safety the major priority.

The global disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus and resultant critical public health measures have significantly disrupted the qualification processes for sports as well as the preparation of athletes. 

AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll says the AOC will do everything possible to fulfil the dreams of Australian athletes in incredibly difficult circumstances.

“We recognise there is a global health crisis. We recognise that people are suffering – people are sick, people are losing jobs, businesses are struggling amid enormous community uncertainty. Things are changing everyday and we all must adapt.

“Equally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), advised by the World Health Organisation, has assured us that the Olympic Games in Tokyo are proceeding in four months. We owe it to our Australian athletes to do everything we can to ensure they will participate with the best opportunity in those Games.

“We gain confidence from the IOC’s overriding principles regarding staging the Games. Namely, to protect the health of everyone involved and support the containment of the virus. And secondly to safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport,” Mr Carroll said.

AOC Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman says urgent adaptations to the qualification processes for each sport should be clearer by early April when International Federations (IF) for each sport submit their revised systems to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Last night we spoke with IOC President Thomas Bach who reminded us of the IOC’s determination to give the athletes their moment, with an Olympic Games in Tokyo, beginning with the Opening Ceremony on July 24th.”

“There are a number of challenges all athletes are facing between now and then, but two stand out. 

“First is gaining qualification for the Games with so much disruption to world sport and travel, and second is ensuring they are able to attend the Games free of coronavirus.

“The situation regarding qualification is complex to say the least, with global travel restrictions among many measures that prevent qualifying events anywhere in the world from going ahead right now.”

“International Federations will seek to create a clear path to the Games for each sport. The AOC will certainly assist all our National Federations here in Australia as they respond to the specific decisions in their individual sports. 

“Our focus is moving to the planning of our pre-Games preparation to ensure we get our athletes to the Games healthy, prepared and virus free. Clearly that is a major challenge for all National Olympic Committees.

“We are starting conversations with our sports about what that looks like. But initiatives on the table include extended pre-Games camps in Australia or in Japan. The option of taking the Team direct from the pre-Camps into Tokyo via charter supports that period of pre-Games isolation. We will look at potentially minimising the time they spend in the Olympic Village.

We will work with sports to curate bespoke solutions to deliver our athletes to the Games fit and healthy and ready to go.

The AOC has also undertaken a range of measures to comply with government public health considerations.

Matt Carroll says the AOC has an obligation as a leading sports organisation to ensure community health and the safety of the sporting community and its own staff.

“We will continue to monitor and make ongoing decisions to ensure we meet our responsibilities,” Mr Carroll said.

Measures undertaken in the past week include: 

  • Postponing of Team Appeal dinners
  • Cancelling March sport planning trip to Tokyo
  • AOC Annual General Meeting to be conducted in an on-line environment
  • AOC staff working from home
  • Risk mitigation protocols for team selection announcements and events
  • Suspension of the Olympics Live planning around live sites and other events

 

    Friday 13th March 2020

    AOC announces measures to counter COVID-19

    The AOC has announced a range of additional measures to protect athlete and Team official health and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

    The measures include:

    • A protocol for event owners to protect athletes who have been selected for Tokyo Olympic Games or who are aspiring to selection for the Games, as well as Team officials.
    • The postponement of multiple Team Appeal Dinners until after the Olympic Games in July.
    • The replacement of scheduled Team Selection announcements involving athlete appearances with a virtual or packaged format along with alternative access arrangements for media

    AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll says the aim to ensure athletes seeking to compete in the Tokyo Games are not exposed to unnecessary risk.

    “We take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously and the health of our athletes and Team officials is our highest priority. The Olympic Games are going ahead and our athletes are training hard to get there and do their best.”

    “These measures will help them achieve that. They reflect the situation as it is right now and we will continue to monitor.”

    Event Protocol
    The Event Protocol enforces standards and procedures to ensure athlete and officials’ hygiene is preserved. The Protocol applies to the owners of AOC sanctioned events, including the AOC’s own functions, where athletes and Team officials will be appearing.

    Measures include standards for venue cleaning, social distancing, the exclusion of guests who have returned from overseas within 14 days of the event and those experiencing respiratory symptoms.

    Team Appeal Dinners Postponed
    Starting with the “Spirit of the Games” Gala dinner in Sydney which was scheduled for Saturday March 21st, the AOC has advised table purchasers and guests that the dinner is postponed and will be held after the Tokyo Games as a celebration event.

    The postponements by the AOC and Team Appeal Committees also include Team Appeal dinners planned for West Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

    Mr Carroll says the decision has been received positively.

    “We have offered a full refund, but to date the vast majority who have taken tables have rolled their contribution over to the post-Games celebration functions. Others have promised to recommit after the Games to celebrate the achievements of our athletes when they return,” Mr Carroll said.

    Team Selection Announcements
    A decision has also been taken to amend Team Selection announcements and some other announcements into a minimal format that gets the news out there, but not in a large set-piece manner.

    Arrangements for each announcement will vary but provision will be made for media to access individual athletes remotely. Pre-packaged material will also be made available to media outlets.

    These arrangements will be reviewed early next month.

     

    Wednesday 26th February 2020

    Coronavirus update - key points from the AOC

    The AOC would like to share the following updates in relation to Coronavirus and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games;

    • Australian health authorities have not implemented any travel restrictions in relation to Japan.
    • The Australian Government does however recommend that travellers exercise a high degree of caution in Japan, due to a heightened risk of local transmission.
    • We remain vigilant and concerned - but it is important that people remain calm and act on the best health advice available. 
    • We are continuing to plan on the assumption that the Tokyo Games are proceeding as planned.
    • The AOC is liaising with all Olympic sports offering advice based on the best available information.
    • Based on their individual circumstances, sports are taking prudent steps with regard to test events, international competitions and training camps.
    • We are taking expert advice from the Commonwealth Department of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Japan Ministry of Health and Tokyo Games Organising Committee (TOCOG).  
    • Dr David Hughes, AOC Medical Director for the Tokyo Games and Chief Medical Officer for the AIS also continues to provide regular advice.
    • John Coates, as Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games is well placed to keep us informed.

     

    Athlete Communication

    Monday 4th May 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: Update from Ian Chesterman

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    The countdown is on all over again – 445 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 23 next year.

    The longest days for you all have no doubt been those since the IOC said the Games would be postponed back on March 23, six weeks ago.

    I’m sure that you were all pleased to hear that we are very close to being able to resume some form of formal training with the adoption of the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities approved by the Federal Cabinet last Friday.

    Our thanks go to Dr David Hughes, AIS Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo, for the role he and his team have played in developing the framework. It is a very sensible approach - sport by sport and state by state – which we hope will see you all moving to close to full training in the coming weeks.

    View Framework Here >>>

    Qualification systems

    The first of the amended qualification systems have been released for some sports:

    • Archery 
    • Baseball/Softball 
    • Football 
    • Golf 
    • Hockey 
    • Modern Pentathlon 
    • Rowing 
    • Sailing 
    • Sport Climbing 
    • Triathlon 
    • Wrestling 

    I suggest that if you have any queries your first stop is your High Performance team at your National Federation. You will note for many sports, while the qualification period has been extended there are still many things “TBA”. The uncertainty around when travel and competitions can start again means it has been impossible for the International Federations to provide all the certainty that you would like.

    It is anticipated that amended qualification systems will be released for the remaining sports over the coming weeks.

    Being a Tasmanian, I have become well aware how quickly circumstances can change and a breakout of COVID-19 can occur. The impacts of the cluster in the State’s North West, and its implications for the region’s hospitals and its residents, has been immense and a timely reminder to continue to take care and look after yourselves and those around you.

    It is also a time to reflect how much better off we are than almost anywhere else in the world. So good luck getting back into some more structured training, and I will be in touch with further news when we have some.

    As always, our Olympian Services Manager Daniel Kowalski, remains a great resource if you are seeking support in any way.

    Look after yourselves and stay safe.

    Ian Chesterman
    Chef de Mission

    Tuesday 28th April 2020

    Tokyo 2020 update from Ian Chesterman & Matt Carroll

    Monday 20th April 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: AOC Webinar - Elite Mindset

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    I hope that this is still finding you well. These are indeed strange times with lots of adjustments to make. 
     
    I continue to talk to a lot of the leaders of different sports, both athletes and high-performance staff and receive feedback about how their communities are coping with this interruption. It seems resilience is a strong theme but understandably it’s still turmoil for many. As always, I hope you continue to stay close to your sports and the support services available to you.  
     
    The AOC Olympian Services Manager, Daniel Kowalski, is another great resource available to you, so feel free to reach out to him.  I also encourage you to log onto the Live and Interactive Sessions being run by the AOC to deal with many of the wellbeing issues you may be experiencing. They are held every Tuesday at 2:00pm EST. Tomorrow’s session will provide an insight into maintaining an elite mindset in the current climate with Lydia Lassila and Emma Murray. These are also available online on the AOC website if you can’t catch them live. 
     
    I was hoping to bring you some definitive news about Tokyo 2020 but unfortunately at this stage there is not much to tell you given the IOC and Japanese authorities are currently undertaking the enormous task required to make changes to run the Games one year later. 
     
    With the same dates and event schedule agreed for the Games in 2021, the Organising Committee is in discussions with the various owners/managers of the 43 Olympic venues, including the Olympic Village, the International Broadcast Centre and the Main Press Centre to ensure availability in 2021. 
     
    We had been hoping the re-worked qualification systems would be available by the middle of this month, but it will now be closer to the end of April / early May. 
     
    One upside of the delay is that the Organising Committee is going to use the extra summer to further refine and test their heat mitigation strategies. It is good to know that our hosts continue to take this very important issue so seriously. 
     
    Keep safe and look after those around you. 

    Best wishes 
     
    Ian Chesterman 
    Chef de Mission 

    Tuesday 31st March 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: Tokyo set for July 23, 2021

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    I’m sure you have probably already heard, but it was announced overnight that the dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to be celebrated in 2021, are July 23 to August 8, exactly one year after the original planned dates.

    There has been no update on when the adjusted qualification system will be announced. The latest IOC advice remains around the middle of April.

    I am pleased for everyone that the new dates have been settled so quickly by the IOC and our Japanese friends and partners.

    Finally, just a reminder that you can join AOC CEO, Matt Carroll and I from 2:00pm AEDST today to ask any questions regarding this announcement over night by clicking on the link below.

    Best wishes

    Ian Chesterman
    Chef de Mission

     

    Monday 30th March 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: Further communication to long list Athletes - 30th March 2020

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    So much has happened since writing to you last Monday suggesting it was time to prioritise your safety and to start planning for an Olympic Games in 2021.

    I have spoken to a number of athletes and support staff and it is clear that the change has caused enormous upheaval in your lives and you are trying to reset your goals for 2021 as best you can.

    Across the weekend more information has come to hand and we want to share that with you.

    In a teleconference with the IOC on Friday night, President Bach made it clear that they did not expect a decision on the 2021 dates of the Olympic Games for a further three weeks. They hope to provide specific dates around April 17, give or take a few days.

    We also received official confirmation from the IOC that “Any of the currently qualified positions remain qualified across every one of the 33 sports (International Federations).”

    This is pivotal in our advice to those athletes who are already selected, confirming that you will stay selected.

    Also, athletes who have completed the entire qualification process, under the existing National Federation nomination criteria and international qualification systems, can be nominated and selected in line with the existing policy.

    During the teleconference, the IOC provided answers on a range of topics, as follows:

    Regarding the changed qualification terms, the IOC said:

    “We will provide those to you as soon as the dates of the Games are finalised and that will provide as much detail across each of the remaining qualification systems as possible.”

    The IOC said in response to whether there will be any changes in the athlete quotas for each NOC because of the postponement:

    “No. The number of athletes per NOC will remain exactly the same in each of the sports and the process of allocation will remain with the principles that were originally identified if at all possible in those qualification systems.”

    The IOC recognised that the rescheduling of the Olympic Games will certainly have an impact on the calendars of International Federations in 2021.

    “Yes they will.  That is exactly what we are working through with each International Federation and once we know the dates (of the Games), each International Federation will work on the changes necessary in their calendars and obviously with any other multi-sport Games as well.

    Another question was if newly agreed qualification systems will be launched by discipline:

    “Again, that will be done in three week's time.  Once we confirm the dates of the Games we will update the qualification systems fully at that time.”

    Finally, will the new qualification systems be based on fairness:

    “Yes, firstly fairness is providing athletes with the certainty in terms of the timing of the Games and then applying the same principles that already exist in qualification systems to any necessary adaptations.”

    Subsequently, the IOC raised the issue of changing age restrictions, particularly in the case of Football with the Under 23 age restriction:

    “Will that restriction change to Under 24 so the same group of players that went through the qualifying process could compete in the Games? This is what we are discussing with the International Federation right now. I think our starting principle is, unless it is related to safety, we would look to have flexibility so athletes in those NOCs that have gained qualification will be the athletes that compete at the Games.”  A final position will only be clear when the revised qualification terms are advised.

    The IOC reminded us to advise athletes to keep checking Athlete 365 for information on keeping fit, staying active, mental health, anti-doping and updates on the qualification systems.

    Thanks to those that participated in the live and interactive session with the AOC's CEO Matt Carroll and myself on Friday, or who have subsequently watched it.

    A reminder that tomorrow we will be continuing our online weekly series hosted by 2008 Olympian Amy Jones. Tomorrow Amy will be speaking to digital nutritionist Jocelyn Brewer, who will share how we can avoid becoming too obsessed with online news and media, how to stay connected in a healthy way, how to look after your mental health online, and how to manage the uncertainty that we are all experiencing in these times.

    As always, please stay safe.

    Ian Chesterman
    Chef de Mission

     

    Friday 27th March 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: An update on your selection

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    Since I last wrote to you, the Games have now been officially postponed to 2021, to be held some time before the end of the northern summer. The Games will still be known as Tokyo 2020.

    IOC President Thomas Bach, in his media conference earlier this week, said all dates in 2021 are still on the table. An IOC Taskforce has been established to work with the many stakeholders to address all the issues resulting from the postponement. We don’t expect to know a date for some weeks to come.

    We are also waiting on the IOC and the International Federations to issue the amended International Qualification Systems for each sport for Tokyo 2020 (to be held in 2021).

    As I wrote in my earlier letter, we understand that any athlete or team that has met the qualification requirements will not be required to requalify. While we are yet to have this formally confirmed by the IOC and International Federations, we are moving forward on this basis.

    And it is on that basis that we confirmed in media interviews yesterday that those athletes already selected for the Tokyo Games remain selected.

    Your sports have also been informed of this position earlier in the week through communication from our CEO Matt Carroll.

    So, I am pleased to confirm your position on the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo, which continues to be subject to the terms of the Team Membership Agreement and related Australian Olympic Team policies.

    You might also be subject to on-going clauses in your National Federation rules and/or Nomination Criteria which apply to the period between your selection and the holding of the Games.

    I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

    No doubt I’ll be back in touch soon with more news.

    Ian Chesterman
    Chef de Mission

    Wednesday 25th March 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: COVID-19 - Update 25th March 2020 - Games Postponement Confirmed

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    The announcement that the Tokyo Olympics will be in the northern summer of 2021 provides certainty and a sense of hope that when run, the Games will be a true celebration of sport. We have no doubt that Japan will put on a wonderful Olympic Games.

    There are lots of challenges ahead and for some difficult choices. I saw two wise coaches yesterday saying don’t rush decisions at the moment. Time gives perspective. Sounded like wise advice to me - for everyone from all aspects of our team. I hope we can all find a way to make it to Tokyo.

    I saw some wise advice from Patty Mills (Basketball 2008, 2012, 2016) overnight as well. You may have seen it already, but it good advice for us all. Check it out at this link.

    The details will flow in the coming days and we will keep everyone informed as we know more. The Games (forever known as Tokyo 2020!) will take place in the June to August period with then strongest likelihood that it will be 12 months from the original dates.

    We now understand that those athletes and teams who have qualified will not be required to re-qualify. The particulars, and how the remainder qualify, will become clearer in the coming weeks.

    No doubt family and friends are wondering about tickets and travel. CoSport, our official ticket provider in Australia, will be in direct touch in the coming days.

    That’s about all the news for today. More will be revealed in the coming days and weeks. It’s fair to say the IOC and the Japanese authorities have an enormous job on their hands to recalibrate everything for a 2021 Games.

    The main thing now is to stay safe and keep everyone else safe. It is going to be a difficult time ahead as restrictions will be in place for many months.

    It is exciting to have something to work towards and I know that the AOC is looking forward to being there for you all every step of the way.

    #TokyoTogether

    Ian Chesterman
    Chef de Mission

     

    Tuesday 24th March 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team

    RE: Update to long list Athletes

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    I am sure that the past 24 hours has been a whirlwind for you, as you take in the consequences of my letter yesterday outlining our advice to start planning for a 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

    I have heard many of you interviewed and express your personal disappointment about what the delay means to you, and this is totally natural and understandable. You have worked so hard to be ready for the Olympics in July 2020 and the change is massive for you.

    But everyone has then followed up that they understand the decision and appreciate the certainty the advice provides.

    The messages of empathy for others in the community has been a constant part of the response as well, as we all watch people lose jobs, businesses and even loved ones. It has been wonderful to see the leadership provided by our athletes to our community, all unscripted, all genuine and, from what I am hearing, greatly appreciated. So thank you.

    I hope that those of you who were away from family and friends have found your way to safe havens and you all have time to ensure you are taking all necessary precautions for yourselves and your loved ones.

    All of that doesn’t take away from the fact that your world has changed suddenly and while there is a one level more certainty, at another there is less.

    What does a 2021 Games look like? What are the qualification systems? Can I keep myself going for another year? The list of unknowns is long and different depending on your own circumstances.

    There is also the impact on your family and friends who have given you so much support over the years.

    As I said yesterday, we don’t have a whole lot of answers yet unfortunately. The IOC will announce its decision within four weeks, and clearly the sooner the better. But the postponement option is a massive task to undertake, moving the world’s biggest sporting event by 12 months at a time of great social and economic uncertainty.

    Our commitment is to keep you informed as more information comes to hand. But for now, for us all, it is a time of wait and watch.

    We hope to have news on the Qualification system for the Tokyo Games in the coming weeks. Indications are that those qualified under the existing systems will be maintained and we will be lobbying for this outcome. To those of you on this email list who have already been selected, I have written separately to explain your situation.

    Our AOC Olympian Services Manager Daniel Kowalski, is ever mindful of the plight of our athletes.

    Daniel, for those of you who don’t known, in 1996 became the first man in 92 years to earn medals in all of the 200 metres, 400 metres and 1500 metre freestyle events. But a more modest man you won’t find and he will be our Athlete Services Manager in Tokyo.

    Dan has put together a series of weekly on-line athlete information forums, that will be hosted by 2008 Olympian, Amy Jones, from the sport of Water Polo. The first forum will run this Friday, March 27, at 11am Sydney time, where I will be answering your questions live. We will forward information on how to find us in the coming days.

    The from Tuesday next week, March 31, Dan and his team will be offering other helpful sessions and tools that will assist with the enormous upheaval you are going through.

    It is a time of swinging emotions for many I’m sure. Please always reach out to those around you and Dan is always on stand-by to help.

    Coaches, support staff and our administrators are also facing enormous upheaval. The AOC will continue to work with the AIS and your sports so your wellbeing is also looked after.

    #TokyoTogether. The sentiment remains more important now than ever.

    I will write again shortly and hopefully engage with some of you at 11:00am AEDST on Friday.

    Monday 23rd March 2020

    From: Ian Chesterman - Chef de Mission, Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team 

    RE: COVID -19 - Update 23rd March 2020

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    The past 24 hours has, I’m sure, been extremely challenging for you, first with venues closing and news of travel bans effectively blocking any chance of the Australian Team getting to the Tokyo Games in July this year, and then to the news this morning that a postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games is now being very actively pursued by the IOC.

    The IOC has said it will work in full cooperation with the Japanese and Tokyo authorities to actively pursue the option of postponement to the Games. However, they have indicated they need four weeks to explore what is possible given the complexities involved before presenting a final plan.

    Importantly, the IOC is working with the International Federations addressing existing and future qualifications which should be finalised in the same time period.

    Please see the official media release from the IOC https://www.olympic.org/news/health-and-safety-paramount-as-ioc-executive-board-agrees-to-continue-scenario-planning-for-the-olympic-games-tokyo-2020

    Please also see the letter to athletes from IOC President Thomas Bach, himself an Olympic gold medallist in fencing.

    While Tokyo this July is still a theoretical option, the spread of the Coronavirus here, and with the spread continuing in so many other countries, it is clear to the AOC that a Games will not be held in 2020 but in the northern hemisphere summer of 2021.

    The response to the email from our Athletes Commission survey from our own athletes, as well of the voice of athletes around the world, made it clear that a level playing field was paramount to the successful running of an Olympic Games and that athletes’ well-being and social responsibility at this time is also vital.

    With this in mind, we strongly suggest that you communicate with your sport and your high performance staff about what the next steps are. It seems a key time to prioritise your health and that of those around you and to make sure you are fully aware of any further interstate travel bans.

    While there will still be much to work out as a result of this change, the timing will allow athletes from around the world to properly prepare with the hope the Coronavirus crisis will be under control.

    The reality is government public health decisions here over the weekend would have made it impossible for many to continue training, and the likelihood are more restrictions to follow. Many in other countries have already been facing these issues.

    This is not where we wanted to be I know, but we are living at a time of incredible challenge. In a perfect world the Games would have taken place with the athletes from 206 countries present in Japan this July.

    And I am aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues. But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity.

    The Executive of the AOC had a special meeting today to consider the ramifications of the latest developments and our CEO Matt Carroll will continue to work with his team to inform the many affected stakeholders of this postponement, including your National Sporting Federations.

    More will evolve in the coming days and weeks and we will keep you up to date. But for now, talk to your sport, get some new plans in place, stay safe and look after yourself and those around you. I will be in touch again soon.

    Very best wishes

    Ian Chesterman
    Chef de Mission

    Sunday 22nd March 2020

    From: Thomas Bach OLY - President, IOC

    RE: Letter from President Thomas Bach OLY to athletes

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    In this unprecedented crisis we are all united.

    Like you, we are very much concerned about what the COVID-19 pandemic is doing to people’s lives. Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I would like to assure you that we will adhere to this in all our decisions concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

    The road to Tokyo is very different for each of you, coming from 206 NOCs. Many of you cannot prepare and train in the way you are used to, or even not at all because of the anti-COVID-19 measures in your country. Many of you are in training and are looking forward to making your Olympic dream come true. Many of you are already qualified for the Games; a significant number are not.

    What we all share, however, is tremendous uncertainty. This uncertainty rocks our nerves and raises or strengthens doubts about a positive future; it destroys hope. Some even have to fear for their very existence. This uncertainty stems from the fact that, at this moment, nobody can really make fully reliable statements about the duration of this fight against the virus. This is true for sport, science, the media, politics, and all of society. Therefore also the IOC can unfortunately not answer all your questions. This is why we are relying on the advice of a Task Force including the World Health Organization (WHO).

    As successful athletes, you know that we should never give up, even if the chance to succeed appears to be very small. Our commitment to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is based on this experience. It is our experience as athletes that you must always be ready to adapt to new situations. For this reason we have, as indicated before, been thinking in different scenarios and are adapting them almost day by day.

    On the one hand, there are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame. This could strengthen our confidence in our Japanese hosts that we could, with certain safety restrictions, organise Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting our principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved. On the other hand, we have seen a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of the virus in different countries on different continents. This is why we have to undertake the next step in our scenarios.

    I think I can feel with those among you who consider the situation to be unsatisfactory. Even though, in very different circumstances and for very different reasons, I had an experience of uncertainty as an athlete in the lead-up to the Olympic Games Moscow 1980. We were uncertain whether the Games would take place and whether we would be allowed to participate. Quite frankly, I would have preferred it if the decision-makers then would have taken more time to decide on a more sound basis of information.

    Our basis of information today is that a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature.

    So, like you, we are in a dilemma: Cancellation of the Olympic Games would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, most likely for the Paralympic athletes, and for all the people who are supporting you as coaches, doctors, officials, training partners, friends and family. Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody. Therefore it is not on our agenda.

    A decision about a postponement today could not determine a new date for the Olympic Games because of the uncertain developments in both directions: an improvement, as we are seeing in a number of countries thanks to the severe measures being taken, or a deteriorating situation in other countries.

    Contrary to other sports events, to postpone the Olympic Games is an extremely complex challenge. Just to give you some examples:

    A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges.

    Therefore, further the study of different scenarios, it would need the full commitment and cooperation of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese authorities, and of all the International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and all stakeholders of the Olympic Games. It is in light of the worldwide deteriorating situation, and in the spirit of our shared commitment to the Olympic Games, that the IOC Executive Board has today initiated the next step in our scenarios.

    Together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement. We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.

    I know that this unprecedented situation leaves many of your questions open. I also know that this rational approach may not be in line with the emotions many of you have to go through. Therefore, as we try to address your situation and the questions you may have about your training, your qualification systems and your participation in the Games, we encourage you to keep an eye out for updates on Athlete365, but also to stay in close contact with your NOCs and National Federations.

    I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope of so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel.

    As a fellow Olympian, I hope that you can understand our challenge, and accept and support our principles which are to safeguard your, your families’ and everyone’s health, and to keep your Olympic dream alive.

    Wishing you, your families and your friends first of all good health and all the best, I remain, with kind regards,

    Title
    President Thomas Bach OLY

     

    Friday 20th March 2020

    From: Steve Hooker - Chair, AOC Athletes' Commission 

    RE: COVID - 19 - Feedback Follow Up 20th March 2020

    To: Personalised to each Athlete

    Can I pass on my thanks to all the athletes who responded to my request for feedback on the impacts of the coronavirus on all aspects of your lives as you prepare for Tokyo 2020.

    It was short notice, but absolutely essential information for me as Chair of the AOC Athletes’ Commission to present the views of athletes at today’s AOC Executive Meeting.

    Given the very different situations every athlete finds themselves in right now, of course your views were varied. But what was gratifying was the thoughtfulness, honesty and integrity of all the responses.

    And as one response put it “The continual speculation is exhausting”.

    Your collective views – from 25 sports - were thoroughly understood and had the appropriate impact on the Executive. It was a very valuable exercise and it will influence decision making. 
    There were many common threads and other themes that I thought would be useful to share with you.

    The opportunity to provide feedback was well received and there should be more opportunities going forward.

    A sincere desire to compete at the Tokyo Games is balanced with an equally sincere wish for fair play and a level playing field given the great difficulties athletes around the world have in training and preparing.

    Athletes want to “do the right thing” as global citizens – whilst as competitors everyone expressed the desire to compete, the vast majority understand that this desire has to be balanced against a social responsibility to do the right thing by the broader community.

    Athletes have trained and prepared – Tokyo is a chance to debut, stand on the podium or seek redemption. Most of you said you would compete if the Games were on.

    There is significant anxiety resulting from the uncertainty around qualification & athlete health and safety, if the Games go ahead.  A view that if the games went ahead that families and friends would most likely not attend.

    Certainty about Games or no Games would help reduce anxiety, but leaving the decision to the last also made sense.

    The Olympic Games have the potential to offer hope.

    Please understand that the many views reflected the variation in circumstances – potential first time Olympians, those on the verge of retirement, those who have qualified, those who are unsure how they might qualify, those who have suffered financially.

    As you may know, the AOC has begun conversations with each National Federation around how athletes can safely prepare for the Games, be conveyed to the Games, compete in Tokyo and be returned home safely.

    This feedback will be very helpful in that process and the issues around athlete wellbeing right now really struck a chord.

    Thank you once again. I know Ian Chesterman, Chef de Mission, will be in contact with you next week with further information on follow-up to your advice, as well as the latest on how the AOC is planning to address the difficult issues we all face in the weeks and months ahead.

    Yours in sport,

    Steve Hooker
    Chair
    AOC Athletes' Commission

    IOC Communication

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    Monday 30th March 2020

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    Thursday 30th April 2020

    Thomas Bach encourages collaboration, unity and creativity, to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis stronger than before.

    Olympism and corona

    With the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are all living in much uncertainty. At this point in time, this uncertainty is far from subsiding. We are all only beginning to understand the far-reaching consequences of the coronavirus crisis around the world.

    What is certain, however, is that this pandemic has affected and will affect all areas of society, including all of us in the world of sport, significantly. The global spread of the virus has meant that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have had to be postponed to 2021, a historic decision that was taken in order to safeguard the health of the athletes and the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the Games.

    In this respect, please accept my sincere thanks and appreciation to each and every one of you for your strong support of the decision by the IOC Executive Board to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which we took together with our Japanese partners and friends. Given the difficult circumstances we are all currently facing, the very broad and overarching support for this decision was not a foregone conclusion.

    This is why the support of all 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), all Summer Olympic International Federations (IFs) plus the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the continental athletes’ commissions for this historic postponement is a great demonstration of the unity of the Olympic Movement under these unprecedented circumstances.

    Coronavirus crisis management

    Now we have another unprecedented challenge ahead of us – organising the postponed Olympic Games. This is a first in our long Olympic history, and it is an immense task for the IOC, our Japanese partners and friends, and all the members of our Olympic community.

    This new situation will need all our solidarity, creativity, determination and flexibility. We shall all need to make sacrifices and compromises. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. This situation requires every one of us to do our part, and this applies to all of us, including the IOC.

    For our part, we have made it clear that the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the operational burden and its share of the costs for these postponed Games, under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020 that we have with our Japanese partners and friends.

    Although it is too early to give an exact figure, we already know that we have to shoulder several hundred million US dollars of postponement costs. This is why we also need to look into and review all the services that we provide for these postponed Games. With regard to supporting the Olympic community that is affected by this crisis, we are already in fruitful discussions with the athletes, the NOCs and the IFs, as well as our commercial partners and sponsors.

    As immediate measures, we have already extended all Olympic grants to the NOCs to cover their preparations for the Games. This also applies to the grants for 1,600 Olympic Scholarship athletes worldwide and the IOC Refugee Team. The joint Task Force with the symbolic name “Here we Go” is already working at full speed in a highly professional way.

    It has established the priorities and management strategies to make these postponed Olympic Games feasible and successful. These priorities include first of all to create a safe environment with regard to health for all participants. Here, we can continue to rely on the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) concerning potential adaptations to the organisation of mass gatherings.

    With regard to feasibility, the IOC has provided a wide-ranging catalogue of cost-saving measures to the joint Task Force. By following this strategy, we have the unique opportunity to turn the celebration of the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 into a festival of unity for humankind, and a symbol of human resilience to overcome this coronavirus crisis.

    Imagine what a powerful signal of hope these Olympic Games will be for the world during these unprecedented times. The Olympic flame can be the light at the end of the dark tunnel that humankind currently finds itself in.

    The post-coronavirus world

    At this moment, nobody knows what the realities of the post-coronavirus world will look like. What is clear, however, is that probably none of us will be able to sustain every single initiative or event that we were planning before this crisis hit. We will all need to take a close look at the scope of some of our activities and make the necessary adjustments to the new realities.

    In this context, the IOC administration is reviewing the IOC’s budget and priorities. This review will shortly be presented to the IOC Executive Board for discussion and approval. The motto when we launched Olympic Agenda 2020, and which is written on the wall at Olympic House: “Change or be changed”, is in this crisis-time more relevant than ever.

    As challenging and difficult as the circumstances may appear right now, if we draw the right lessons from the current situation, we can shape our future to even strengthen the relevance of our Olympic Movement in the world. Therefore we should drive further the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, in particular with regard to sustainability, in order to address this crisis.

    To accomplish this, as a responsible organisation we should dare to look into the future of the world after this crisis. History tells us that significant crises or systemic shocks, like the coronavirus pandemic, have profound and far-reaching impacts on society at large. Therefore, we have to imagine in what kind of postcoronavirus world sport, the Olympic values and the Olympic Games will find themselves in.

    At this moment in time, nobody can truly predict the realities of this postcoronavirus world. But if we want to be prepared, we need to try to look further ahead. To this discussion I would like to contribute some food for thought: One could imagine three broad scenarios, while bearing in mind that these are by no means exhaustive, nor likely to become reality in their pure form, but will differ according to their national, regional and cultural background.

    In the first scenario, society will try to continue much like before the crisis. With this scenario, the current crisis would most likely exacerbate already existing social and economic inequalities. Too many inequalities and inefficiencies in too many societies have been laid bare in this crisis.

    The world will not be able to overcome these by blindly following computer algorithms based on data stemming from the past, like from the financial crisis in 2008. This crisis is very different. To overcome this crisis will require human excellence, experience and creativity.

    The second scenario is largely characterised by society and nations driven even more by egoism and self-interest. This scenario could lead to even more divided societies, to more inequalities, with all the social risks this entails for the political systems. It would lead to a dramatic worsening of international relations, protectionism and political confrontation in all aspects of human life: the economy, sport, culture, humanitarian aid, everything would become a political tool in this political confrontation.

    The main features of the third scenario are more solidarity and international cooperation. This scenario would mean that we have understood that we cannot predict or shape the future state of the world by relying solely on technology, and that no individual, no government, no nation can solve the big problems of humanity on their own.

    This would lead to efforts to share the hardship of the crisis in a fair way among people and nations, and to strengthen a fair and cooperative world order. Whichever elements of these scenarios are dominant, there will be a fundamental effect on sport and society at large. Being united by our Olympic values of peace, solidarity, respect and unity in all our diversity, we can make an important contribution to this post-coronavirus world.

    We can do so from a strong basis. Thanks to the many reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 we are enjoying long-term stability. This allows us to shoulder not only our share of the postponement costs of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 but at the same time keep assisting the athletes and the Olympic stakeholders.

    Yet there is no reason to be complacent. This post-coronavirus world will confront us with more challenges, in particular social, economic and political ones. Therefore, we have to drive Olympic Agenda 2020 forward and adapt it.

    Social impact

    We can fairly assume that, in the post-coronavirus society, public health will play a much more important role. Sport and physical activity make a great contribution to health. While studies by the WHO had already demonstrated this with stunning results concerning non-communicable diseases, the coronavirus crisis teaches us how much a sound general health situation helps to overcome communicable diseases as well.

    Sport and physical activity are therefore the perhaps most lowcost tool for a healthy society. To make this even more evident too, the IOC is about to conclude a new Memorandum of Understanding with the WHO. We can highlight the significance of sport for inclusivity and integration. Sometimes, sport is the only activity that unites people regardless of their social, political, religious or cultural background.

    Sport is the glue bonding a society together. Such inclusivity is even more important in otherwise deeply divided societies. We shall also have to consider what social distancing may mean for our relations with e-sports.

    Whilst maintaining our principles by respecting the “red line” with regard to the Olympic values, we encourage all our stakeholders even more urgently to “consider how to govern electronic and virtual forms of their sport and explore opportunities with game publishers” (Declaration of the 8th Olympic Summit, 7 December 2019).

    Some IFs have already been very creative by organising remote competitions. We should further strengthen these moves and encourage our joint working group to address this new challenge and opportunity.

    Economic impact

    Without any doubt, the current health crisis will lead to a long and deep economic crisis, the effect of which on sport may differ from country to country. This will depend greatly on the importance governments will give to the enormous social capital represented by sport when it comes to the allocation of the financial assistance provided by them for the recovery of economy.

    Therefore, we should strongly request governments to appreciate and honour the immense contribution of sport to public health, its importance for inclusion, social life and culture, and its important role for their national economies. 

    In Europe, for example, a recent study showed that sport contributes more than two percent to GDP, a contribution which makes sport economically more important than a number of more traditional economic sectors.

    The same study found that nearly three per cent of all jobs in Europe are sport-related. Sport is therefore a big employer. This study, like many others, demonstrates that sport can play not just a positive social role but also an economic one in helping the world to recover from the crisis. We are not part of the problem. We can be part of the solution. To achieve this, governments must include sport in their economic support programmes.

    However, for most sports events, as for all sectors of society, things will not be as they were before. This is why the IOC should further strengthen the sustainability and feasibility reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 with a new phase of the “New Norm” to make even more savings possible for the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games.

    These new measures should lead to an even more restricted footprint for all the stakeholders at the Olympic Games. The IOC will also study whether and how we can accelerate our response to climate change. The IOC as an organisation is already carbon neutral, as the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 should also be. Our new aim could be to make them both climate positive even before 2030, which is the year targeted by the international community to achieve their climate goals.

    For the Olympic Movement as a whole, we may also have to look more closely into the proliferation of sports events, as we already discussed at previous Olympic Summits. The financial pressure on all the stakeholders, including NOCs, IFs and Organising Committees, may require more consolidation in this respect.

    Political impact

    At least in some parts of the world, we may see more nationalism, more protectionism and, as a result, more political confrontation. Here, our Olympic values of solidarity, peace, respect for each other and for the global rules of sport need to be emphasised. By living in and strengthening solidarity we can show that respectful international cooperation produces better and fairer results than isolationism.

    We all have to make every effort to ensure that the Olympic Games are supported by the entire international community as the demonstration of the “Unity of humankind in all our diversity”; that the Olympic Games are building bridges for everybody without any kind of discrimination; and that therefore the Olympic Games as this unique sports, cultural and social event should be beyond any political or other divisive considerations.

    The way forward

    I hope that with these ideas I can contribute to a comprehensive discussion. Therefore I propose a wide-ranging consultation among all of us under the guidance of the IOC Executive Board and the IOC Session, as we did for Olympic Agenda 2020. Already the Ancient Greeks, to whom we owe the Olympic Games, knew that with every crisis comes an opportunity.

    Let us take this opportunity in a way of unity and creativity to emerge from this crisis even stronger than before. The post-coronavirus world will need sport, and we are ready to contribute to shaping it with our Olympic values.

    Monday 30th March 2020

    IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Tokyo Metropolitan Government announce new dates for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020

    ----------------------------------------

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan today agreed new dates for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, in 2021.

    The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021, and they also agreed on new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will be celebrated from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

    The leaderships of the key parties came together via telephone conference earlier today, joined by IOC President Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Olympic and Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko, and agreed on the new schedule.

    This decision was taken based on three main considerations and in line with the principles established by the IOC Executive Board (EB) on 17 March 2020 and confirmed at its meeting today. These were supported by all the International Summer Olympic Sports Federations (IFs) and all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs):

    1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
    2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
    3. The global international sports calendar.

    These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020), also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.

    In a call on Tuesday 24 March 2020, based on information provided by the WHO at the time, IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō concluded that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be held in their complete form and not later than summer 2021. The Prime Minister reiterated that the government of Japan stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting these successful Games. At the same time, IOC President Thomas Bach stressed the full commitment of the IOC to successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

    Following today’s decision, the IOC President said: “I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days. I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

    Andrew Parsons, the President of the IPC, commented: “It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world. When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport. With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic Movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

    The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Mori Yoshirō, said: “IOC President Thomas Bach and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee held a conference call today to discuss in detail the revised dates of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Hashimoto Seiko and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko joined the call.

    "I proposed that the Games should be hosted between July and August 2021, and I really appreciate that President Bach, having discussed this proposal with the various international sports federations and other related organisations, kindly accepted my proposal.

    "A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable. In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it wold be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.

    "Notwithstanding the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in history, and various other issues that have already been highlighted, the event schedule is the cornerstone of future preparations, and I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations.

    "I would like to thank all the stakeholders, including the host city Tokyo and the Government of Japan, for their hard work during this short period. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year's Games.”

    Governor Koike Yuriko said: “In consideration of the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain timeframe before we fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure for the athletes and spectators. Also, the preparation for the new dates will go smoothly, as the dates match with same timeframe as the original competition dates, corresponding with ticketing, venue staffing, volunteers and transport. Therefore, I believe that celebrating the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 23 July 2021 is ideal. The athletes, volunteers, torchbearers and local municipality governments have been concerned about the situation. Since we now have concrete new dates to aim for, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will commit all its resources, and work closely with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the national government and other stakeholders to fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure.”

    It has previously been confirmed that all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged. This is a result of the fact that these Olympic Games Tokyo , in agreement with Japan, will remain the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.

     

    Tuesday 24th March 2020

    The IOC and Tokyo 2020 have announced the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, originally planned to begin on 24 July 2020. 

    The official joint statement is below.

    ---------------------

    The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

    President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.

    In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.

    The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is "accelerating". There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

    In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

    The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.

    It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

     

    Sunday 22nd March 2020

    Health and safety paramount as IOC Executive Board agress to step up scenario-planning for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

    To safeguard the health of all involved and the contribute to the containment of COVID-19, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that the IOC will step up its SCENARIO-PLANNING FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020.

    These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games. This step will allow better visibility of the rapidly changing development of the health situation around the world and in Japan. It will serve as the basis for the best decision in the interest of the athletes and everyone else involved.

    On the one hand, there are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame. This could strengthen the IOC’s confidence in the Japanese hosts that the IOC could, with certain safety restrictions, organise Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting its principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved.

    On the other hand, there is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the EB to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning.

    A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges.

    Therefore, further to the study of different scenarios, it would need the full commitment and cooperation of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese authorities, and of all the International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). It would also require commitment from, and collaboration with, the Rights-Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) and our TOP Partner sponsors, as part of their continued and valued support to the Olympic Movement, as well as cooperation from all the Games’ partners, suppliers and contractors. It is in this spirit of the Olympic stakeholders’ shared commitment to the Olympic Games, and in light of the worldwide deteriorating situation, that the IOC EB has today initiated the next step in the IOC’s scenario-planning.

    The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement. The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the NOCs and IFs in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning.

    The IOC EB emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda.

    After the EB meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach today wrote to the global athlete community to provide them with an explanation of the IOC’s approach.

    In the letter, Bach stated once more that safeguarding the health of everyone involved and contributing to contain the virus is the fundamental principle, and said: “Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

     

    Tuesday 3rd March 2020

    IOC Executive Board statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) today expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from 24 July to 9 August 2020. 

    The IOC EB heard a report on all the measures taken so far to address the coronavirus situation, which was followed by a comprehensive discussion.

    A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO). The IOC EB appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host safe and secure Games.

    The IOC will continue to follow the advice of WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic. The IOC EB expressed its thanks to WHO for its continued valuable advice and cooperation.

    It also praised the great unity and solidarity of the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations and governments. It welcomed their close collaboration and flexibility with regard to the preparations for the Games, and particularly the qualification events. All stakeholders continue to work closely together to address the challenges of the coronavirus.

    The IOC EB encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC will keep supporting the athletes by providing the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website.

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