Bach hoped the Tokyo Games will be a milestone following coronavirus

VIDEO SHOWS: PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH PRESS CONFERENCE FOLLOWING THE IOC SESSION

SHOWS: LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (JULY 17, 2020) (IOC - Broadcasters: NEWS USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. Digital: NEWS USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT, SAYING:

"If everything is going in the right way these Olympic Games will be the first worldwide gathering then after the coronavirus, where billions of people around the globe will assemble behind these Olympic Games and will celebrate the solidarity of humankind, and will celebrate the resilience. They will celebrate hope.

"These Olympic Games can be a unique milestone for the entire world."

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT, SAYING:

"This is of course one of the scenarios we have to look into, because this depends, has to do, with travel restrictions, with quarantine, with everything. But it's too early to tell. Again it's not what we want, we would like to see stadia full of enthusiastic fans and to give them all the opportunity to live for the Olympic experience and to support the athletes. This is the first line we are working for."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT, SAYING:

"I think there were very few things people were longing for so much in lockdowns than to finally see sports events again. Now they are longing for getting back to the stadia, to be in this community.

"All this then can and hopefully culminate then in the Olympic Games where the whole world together can then enjoy and celebrate."

6. WHITE FLASH

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT, SAYING:

"The Coordination Commission is working very closely with the Beijing Organising Committee and as you could hear there just recently after the last meeting they are very happy about this cooperation.

"Beijing is making great progress and the short timespan between Tokyo and Beijing can help Beijing also, will help Beijing very much. Because with this short timespan the high awareness of the OIympic Games from Tokyo can be transferred, at least in part, to Beijing 2022, and there Beijing can clearly benefit from this moment."

8. WHITE FLASH

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT, SAYING:

"This was related to a number of experiences we had to make in the recent months and in the recent year, where we had problems between different countries with visa, where athletes were told by their governments they shouldn't travel to another government. Where one government said we will not give visa to athletes from other governments, so we have seen these kind of boycotts growing in the recent let's say two years roundabout, or one and a half years."

STORY: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Friday (July 17) that he hopes next year's Tokyo Games will be seen as a marker for a post-coronavirus time.

Speaking at the end of the 136th IOC Session, Bach hoped that the Games can turn into a celebration for the whole world following the pandemic that has delayed virtually all sporting events.

The Tokyo Olympics next year will use the same venues and follow an almost identical competition schedule as the one originally planned for this year before the event was postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, Bach told an IOC session held by video conference that it was too early to give details on coronavirus prevention measures during the Games or on whether events would be in full or partly-full stadiums, or behind closed doors.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese government decided in March to postpone the Games until 2021 and organisers have been working to rearrange an event almost a decade in the making.

The Olympics had been set to begin on July 24 this year.

One of the biggest questions concerns how many people will be able to travel to the Games and watch the events.

"This is of course one of the scenarios we have to look into, because this depends, has to do, with travel restrictions, with quarantine, with everything. But it's too early to tell," said Bach, speaking from the organisation's headquarters in Lausanne.

"we would like to see stadia full of enthusiastic fans and to give them all the opportunity to live for the Olympic experience and to support the athletes. This is the first line we are working for," added Bach, who earlier said he was prepared to stand for re-election next year.

The 2022 Beijing Olympic Games scheduled to start just six months after the end of the Tokyo Olympics and Bach said that the proximity of the two events could be helpful, with everybody used to protocols that may have to be followed.

Bach added that he wanted an open Games after talk of boycotts by certain countries.

(Production: Andy Ragg)

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