2021 or never for the Tokyo Olympics, says IOC Dick Pound

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It could be 2021 or never for the Tokyo Olympics.

Dick Pound, a long-time member of Canada’s International Olympic Committee (IOC), said he has no plans to delay the Tokyo Games for another year.

“The Japanese said we could keep the ball in the air for a year, but not more than a year,” Pound said in an interview with Scott Russell of CBC Sports on Friday. “We really have to hope that this act will be done in time for 2021.”

Pound, 78, raised the idea of ​​a postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic one day before the change was made official on March 24. The Tokyo Olympics are now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The Japanese Organizing Committee (JOC) is the best he has seen, Pound said on Friday, and was therefore prepared for any fallout from the postponement. Now the native of St. Catharines, Ont., Is hoping that the rescheduled Olympics could become a defining moment in a post-pandemic world.

” [The JOC] says, “This is important to us and yes, we think we can do it. “So certainly, let’s give the kids a chance, let’s give the world a chance to weather this storm,” said Pound. Come back and you can come out of an existential threat to humanity with this huge gathering of young people from around the world. “

World gathering

While most countries around the world have strict physical distance guidelines and professional sports are considering how to organize events with as few as two athletes, the idea that 11,000 athletes from around the world will gather in one place seems almost impossible.

But Pound says the universality of the Olympics is what makes the event so great.

“It’s a really complex tapestry when you look at all the arrangements,” said Pound. “But having said that, it’s a huge advantage to have an event that isn’t just a series of world championships in a TV studio. These are the people who react with the people who really matter. “

WATCH | Pound says the universality of the Olympic Games could manifest itself in 2021:

Scott Russell of CBC Sports spoke to Dick Pound, member of the International Olympic Committee, about the power of the Olympic Games and why it is important to keep the 2020 Games going. 4:00 p.m.

Pound competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome as a swimmer, where he placed sixth in the 100 meter freestyle. He said it was his experience there – being able to meet people outside of his own sport and his own country – that sparked his Olympic passion all his life.

And so he had a message for today’s athletes, now forced to wait another 12 months for their life-changing experience.

“Hang on. We are trying to preserve this experience for you. It is postponed a bit but you are resilient. If you’re an athlete, you learn a lot more from your setbacks than from your victories, ”said Pound. said.

“Everyone around the world hopes that this event can be organized a year later and the world will have a chance to see you in action.” You will have the chance to do your best and everyone will feel good about the result. “

Financial cost of deferral

Beyond the athletes, the financial repercussions of postponing the Olympic Games will be felt worldwide.

“I think what we will probably find, somewhat to our horror, is that a lot of [international sport federations] are so dependent on their share of Olympic revenues that they really cannot continue at the level they are currently doing, or would like to do, without making any changes, “said Pound.

The IOC will assess each sport organization to determine which one can benefit most from the parents’ committee’s revenue sharing, he said.

There are also alternatives for the Olympics that the IOC plans to cut costs, said Pound, although the idea of ​​one-site games – such as the permanent placement of the Summer Olympics in Greece – remains little likely.

“It is completely impracticable and the Games are so universal now that they are not Greek Games – they belong to the world,” he said. “And it’s very difficult to say to the rest of the world,” Sorry, you’re out of luck. Don’t even think about applying to be the host. “”

Instead, some of the so-called flourishes of the Olympics, the value of which may not equal the cost, are under review. “It’s serious but not fatal,” Pound said of the payoff.

“From the perspective of the Olympic movement, there is a potential loss of revenue and a potential increase in costs. But frankly, it is worth it if we can organize these Games a year later than planned. “

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