The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, extended a big thank-you for the support for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to all the representatives of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), who are currently taking part in person and virtually in the General Assembly of the Association of NOCs (ANOC) in Crete.
“We did it. We did it for the athletes and we did it together. And I would like to thank everyone of you for your contribution to the overwhelming success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Without your determination, these Olympic Games would not have happened. Or at least, they would not have happened in such a successful and safe way,” President Bach said at the first in-person meeting of the ANOC General Assembly since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Some 148 NOCs have sent representatives to the Greek island, while the others are participating virtually.
President Bach admitted: “We also had our doubts, we also had sleepless nights, we also had to adapt our strategy and actions day by day. And it weighed on all of us, and it weighed on me. But we could not share all the doubts and the questions, we could not share them with you or the other stakeholders. Because the times were so uncertain. The uncertainty you could grasp in every conversation you had with someone from the Olympic Movement. We could not add fuel to this fire. This would have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This may have led the to the collapse of the Games.”
The IOC President stressed the invaluable input and the solidarity of the NOCs for the Games and said: “But in the end we were rewarded for all our efforts for overcoming all this uncertainty, because these Olympic Games were an overwhelming success in many respects.” Thomas Bach explained that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have shown “that we can give hope, we can give solidarity to the people. And this is what obviously the world was longing for.”
Tokyo 2020 were the most followed Olympic Games in history, preliminary figures show. Also, 93 NOCs, more than ever, won Olympic medals. “This was only possible, because of the solidarity we enjoy in the Olympic Movement,” said Thomas Bach. More than 1,800 athletes were supported by the IOC Olympic Solidarity programme in their preparation for the Games in Tokyo. Not all made it to the Games, but all got a chance to participate in a fair way. Thirty of them won a gold medal, 36 a silver medal and 47 a bronze medal. In addition, they won 185 diplomas. Thomas Bach said: “What a success story of this Olympic Solidarity. I want to thank everyone involved.”
The IOC President also reminded the NOC representatives that, for the first time, the IOC had made the anti-doping testing and sanctioning completely independent from the IOC. Testing was in the hands of the International Testing Agency (ITA) and sanctioning in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). “This proved to be a great success,” said Thomas Bach, who asked the NOCs, Continental Associations of NOCs and other event organisers to follow this example.
President Bach’s full speech can be watched here.