IOC invites Olympic athletes of the world to Tokyo 2020 with one year to go
Speaking at the ceremony, President Bach said: “One year from now, Japan will make history. It will be a wonderful and unique moment for our gracious Japanese hosts to show the world the best of Japan: your rich history and traditions, your cutting-edge innovation, your culture of hospitality, and, of course, your love for sport.”
He continued: “Preparations are making excellent progress, thanks to the amazing work of the Organising Committee and with outstanding cooperation and support from the government and the business community. There is so much to look forward to. I have never seen an Olympic city as prepared as Tokyo with one year to go before the Olympic Games.”
Excitement in Japan is already growing, as seen by the huge demand for tickets, with more than 3.2 million already sold, and more than 200,000 people having applied to be volunteers.
The ceremony took place at the Tokyo International Forum, which will host weightlifting at the Olympic Games next year. It was attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC President Thomas Bach, IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori.
President Mori commented: “I believe the Tokyo 2020 Games will be passed down to the next generation as an important turning point in Olympic history. It will be the second time that Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where the world is united as one, regardless of differences in nationality, race, culture or religious views. I strongly hope the younger generation who learn to respect, understand and recognise each other through the Games will play a central role in building an inclusive society.”
Accepting the invitations from President Bach on behalf of the NOCs present were Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos; Chinese Olympic Committee President Zhongwen Gou; French National Olympic and Sports Committee President Denis Masseglia; United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee President Susanne Lyons; Senegalese National Olympic and Sports Committee President Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye; IOC Refugee Olympic Team Chef de Mission Tegla Loroupe; Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates; and Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita.
In the morning, as part of the Let’s GoGo event that allowed residents of Tokyo to try Olympic sports, IOC President Bach practised fencing with local children before formally inviting the athletes of the world to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In addition to the formal presentation of invitations to the NOCs, the ceremony included the unveiling of the Tokyo 2020 medal design, as well as a rhythmic gymnastics performance by Japanese Olympian Honami Tsuboi. Live music was also performed by the Yoshida Brothers and by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.
Tokyo will host the Games of the XXXII Olympiad from 24 July to 9 August 2020.