Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita says the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic came quicker than expected but he wanted to make sure the event was a success after the one-year delay.
The Olympics were postponed on Tuesday to 2021, the first such delay in the Games’ 124-year modern history, as the coronavirus crisis wrecked the world’s last sporting showpiece still standing this year.
Pressure had been building on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with some athletes and sporting bodies angry that a seemingly inevitable decision had taken so long but Yamashita says it is now time to be positive and prepare.
Yamashita, a 62-year-old 1984 Los Angeles Games judo gold medallist , also says that a one-year postponement was better than a two-year delay due to the qualification process.
The IOC’s decision to postpone came faster than he expected but he respected it from the perspective of achieving “safe and complete” Games.
Yamashita, who missed out on the 1980 Moscow Olympics due to Japan’s boycott, says: “I am soon becoming 63, and there’s so many unimaginable or unexpected things in life.
In light of the postponement, Tokyo 2020 has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay scheduled to start on 26 March.https://t.co/NhbJ2coIu0— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 25, 2020
“I’ve experienced the Moscow Olympics and this time is turning into a situation like that.”
He adds: “I want to go through this challenge heading into next year.”