Tokyo Olympics: With the games we're committing an act of faith in the future, says Thomas Bach
With three days to go for the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach examined the distant and not so distant past to draw lessons and hope for brighter times.
Tokyo: With three days to go for the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach examined the distant and not so distant past to draw lessons and hope for brighter times.
For his welcome to the 138th IOC Session, which is taking place in the Japanese capital, the IOC President found inspiration in a quote from the founder of the IOC, Pierre de Coubertin: "The Olympic Games are a pilgrimage to the past and an act of faith in the future."
For President Bach, these words take on special meaning on the eve of these Games: "Because with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we are committing an act of faith in the future.
Just like the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964 marked a new era for a peaceful and dynamic Japan, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will give humanity faith in the future." The session was opened by Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, who asserted that the significance of Tokyo 2020 will not be hampered or reduced even with the limits on spectators.
"In these Games, 4.9 billion people in the world will be rivetted to their TV screens. The world is faced with great difficulty -- now is the time that we have to unite and, with the efforts and wisdom of humankind, deliver the Games. We can do that," said Bach. Prime Minister Suga was preceded at the session by Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Hashimoto Seiko and Japanese Olympic Committee President Yamashita Yasuhiro. In prioritising the delivery of safe and secure Games, Hashimoto also stressed the importance of setting the stage for the athletes: "The Tokyo Games -- these postponed Games -- are a first-ever challenge in the history of the Olympic Games, but there are only three days to go. We have come this far."
"The Tokyo Games will start, overcoming many difficulties. The world over, athletes are coming to Japan. Sport and the athletes will present the power to change the world and our future. I am confident about that," he added. President Bach's belief that the Games will give humanity faith in the future comes from the incredible support, collaboration and solidarity shown by so many across the globe and in the Olympic Movement during the pandemic: "It starts with the heroic efforts of all the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and the many volunteers."
At the same time, the IOC President also remembered all those people in Japan and around the world who have been affected and continue to be affected by this global pandemic, by standing for a minute's silence to honour the memory of all those the world has lost. President Bach concluded his speech with another meaningful quote by Pierre de Coubertin, uttered at an equally crucial juncture in time for humankind: "Speaking before the Olympic Games Antwerp 1920 and during the last global pandemic -- a moment in history in some ways strikingly similar to our times today -- he said, and I quote: 'Humanity must find all the strength it can in the heritage of the past in order to build its future. Olympism is one of those strengths." (ANI)