Olympics chief Thomas Bach revealed “doubts” and “sleepless nights” over the postponed Tokyo Games on Tuesday because the opening ceremony nears after a yr’s delay and coronavirus chaos that has made them deeply unpopular with the Japanese public.
Bach, talking on the International Olympic Committee session in Tokyo, mentioned the unprecedented step of suspending the Games had proved extra difficult than he thought.
The build-up to Friday’s opening ceremony has been exceptionally rocky, with Tokyo nonetheless underneath a state of emergency and public opinion constantly towards the Games, which will probably be held largely with out spectators.
“Over the past 15 months we had to take many decisions on very uncertain grounds. We had doubts every day. We deliberated and discussed. There were sleepless nights,” mentioned Bach.
“This also weighed on us, it weighed on me. But in order to arrive at this day today we had to give confidence, had to show a way out of this crisis,” he added.
Bach has drawn scattered protests throughout his go to to Japan, the place the most recent ballot within the Asahi Shimbun newspaper confirmed 55 % of respondents opposed holding the Games this summer season.
Four individuals have examined optimistic within the Olympic Village, heightening fears that the inflow of hundreds of athletes, officers and media will add to a spike in circumstances in Japan.
A teenage US gymnast staying exterior the Village was additionally among the many 71 Games-related circumstances reported to this point.
Olympic and Japanese officers have staunchly defended the Games, that are being held in a strict biosecure “bubble” with day by day testing. Eighty % of athletes on the Games have been vaccinated.
“We can finally see at the end of the dark tunnel,” mentioned Bach, including: “Cancellation was never an option for us. The IOC never abandons the athletes… we did it for the athletes.”
Bach was talking at an uncommon IOC session, the place mask-wearing delegates sat socially distanced at particular person desks and the rostrum microphone was wiped after every speaker.
It mirrored an Olympics which is able to primarily happen in empty stadiums to the sound of recorded crowd noises, beginning with the opening ceremony within the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
The ceremony will happen with out the music of Keigo ‘Cornelius’ Oyamada, who give up on Monday after an outcry over previous interviews the place he described bullying disabled schoolmates.
“I have become painfully aware that accepting the offer of my musical participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics lacked consideration to a lot of people,” he mentioned in a press release.
Major sponsor Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, additionally scrapped plans to run an Olympic-linked model marketing campaign in Japan, as a senior official mentioned the Games lacked “understanding” from the general public.