The long-term survival of the Olympic Games and the cultural heritage of the Olympic Games were at stake.
BERLIN – International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has rejected claims that the IOC was too hesitant in its decision-making to postpone the 2020 Summer Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bach told the German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he could understand why some people felt this way.
“But as someone who is responsible, you cannot make decisions based on gut instinct,” Bach asserted. He said the “long-term survival of the Olympic Games and the cultural heritage of the Olympic Games” were at stake.
The only short-term decision that might have been possible was to cancel the games outright, the 66-year-old added. However, none of the athletes’ representatives from around the world supported such a step in joint telephone conferences, Bach added.
On March 24, the IOC announced that the Olympics would be cancelled this summer due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. A little later it was decided to postpone the games by almost exactly one year.
Completely cancelling the Games was never an option, Bach insisted.
“In order to counter conspiracy theories, it must be said clearly that the IOC was insured against a cancellation, but not insured in the case of a postponement,” the former fencer told the paper.
“For a postponement, however, the approval of the organizing committee, which must be willing to work a year longer, is required, and the Japanese government must be willing to continue to support the preparations,” Bach added.