Organisers aiming for a ‘simple but inspiring’ Olympics, says Muto

Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Toshiro Muto has said that the organisers are looking to hold a Games that will be “simple but inspiring”. Muto admitted that holding the Olympics next year in the extravagant fashion that was earlier planned is no longer something that the organisers are aiming for amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time of COVID-19 infections, to have all of the pomp and revelry of the Olympics wouldn’t get much sympathy from people worldwide who have experienced this virus,” Muto told Financial Times (ft.com). “Rather, we want something simple but inspiring.”

Originally scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 this year, the Tokyo Olympics became the first ever Games to be postponed. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach took the decision in mid-March as the pandemic started taking global proportions and disrupted travel between countries.

Muto said that the organisers will have to face the reality of holding while amid the pandemic.

“I don’t know what the state of coronavirus infections will be next summer, but the chances it is a thing of the past are not high,” said Muto. “Rather, the important thing is to deliver an Olympics for people who must live with COVID-19.”

While the contract to hold the games is between the city of Tokyo and the IOC, Muto is reassured that the national government has taken a higher level of responsibility.

“It was the national government that decided to delay by a year. With that, the situation has changed a little,” said Muto, acknowledging that Abe’s government would take a larger role. “Furthermore, to hold an Olympics during corona means the antivirus strategy is crucial. The COVID-19 strategy has to be set at the national level.”