Sports 'Largely irrelevant': IOC's Dick Pound dismisses lack of spectators at Olympics

09:27  22 july  2021
09:27  22 july  2021 Source:   cbc.ca

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International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound cast some doubt and expressed uncertainty in his belief of whether the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will be held amid rising COVID-19 cases in Japan. IOC president Thomas Bach has encouraged athletes to get the vaccine before the Olympics , though it is unlikely to be required for participation in Tokyo. "There will be people saying they are jumping the queue, but I think that is the most realistic way of it going ahead," Pound said, per the CBC in Canada.

Longstanding IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today Sports that the decision has been made and an announcement will be forthcoming, with future plans and contingencies set to be discussed and announced moving forward. Speaking on Monday, Pound said: "On the basis of the information the The likelihood of postponement has increased by the day, with the Canadian Olympic team announcing that it would not be sending its team to the Games if it goes ahead at the scheduled time. Other national Olympic committees, including those from Germany, Norway and Brazil, have called for the games to

a man wearing a suit and tie: Canadian International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound, seen above in 2016, said on Thursday in Tokyo the missing crowd for the opening ceremony was © Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images Canadian International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound, seen above in 2016, said on Thursday in Tokyo the missing crowd for the opening ceremony was "largely irrelevant."

A Canadian senior member of the International Olympic Committee is dismissing the lack of public spectators at the Tokyo Olympics as "irrelevant."

The COVID-19 pandemic means no members of the public can watch events live, but Dick Pound told the CBC on Thursday in Tokyo that shouldn't affect the competitions and ceremonies themselves.

"The crowd is largely irrelevant. And every once in a while you give them some lights to wave around," Pound said, referencing Friday's opening ceremony, in an interview with CBC News' Adrienne Arsenault on The National.

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The IOC ' s Dick Pound says it is business as usual for the Olympics as it stands — but that could change. (Reuters: Issei Kato. A senior member of the International Olympic Committee says that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak, organisers are more likely to cancel it altogether than postpone or move it. Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the organising committee, said it would scale back the torch relay to limit spread of the virus, following Tokyo's decision last week to postpone training for Olympic volunteers.

Former IOC vice-president Dick Pound says the Tokyo Olympics could go ahead without fans, predicting the games will open on July 23 despite surging coronavirus cases in Japan and around the globe. Pound is no longer a part of the IOC ' s decision-making executive board, but he has been speaking out recently to generate enthusiasm for the postponed Olympics . His words come as recent polls in Japan show 80 per cent of the public believe the Olympics should not happen with virus cases surging — or will not happen.

While the 68,000-seat Tokyo Olympic Stadium will be devoid of public spectators for the opening ceremony, an estimated 10,000 government and IOC officials are expected to be in attendance.

"If you have the president and secretary of seven international sports federations, I don't think the world is going to end. I mean, someone may try to make a mountain out of that molehill," Pound said.

Earlier, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced that just 30-40 athletes of a contingent of 370 would participate in the opening ceremony due to various health and safety protocols.

"Due to the Olympic Village arrival rules outlined in the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks, athletes are only arriving in the Village five days before they compete. This means that there are less athletes in the Village and that most of them are on the verge of competing," said Eric Myles, COC chief sport officer.

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Pound explained that the IOC will be led by decisions taken by the World Health Organization (WHO) and individual national governments. "We're pretty good at dealing with sport problems, but a pandemic is beyond our pay grade," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "It will depend on the WHO to make a call with respect to international travel and the places that should be avoided. It may come down to a government intervention in Japan, or other governments saying 'we don't want our citizens travelling there'."

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound of Canada says the Tokyo Olympics are set to move ahead as scheduled, even after IOC president Thomas Bach cancelled his trip to Japan due to surging COVID-19 cases. There has still been no official decision on whether domestic spectators will be permitted to attend the upcoming Olympics , but Pound expects that call to be made in the next month.

Pound added that the ceremony is a made-for-TV event that shouldn't be negatively affected by the missing crowd. Meanwhile, events such as softball and soccer have already begun in empty stadiums.

"Ninety-nine point five per cent of the people around the world, maybe more, will experience Tokyo through television or some other electronic platform. They don't care whether there are spectators in the crowd or not. The focus will be on the action. And you can create crowd noise, we've seen it in North America. You can fake it."

Arsenault noted the presence of athletes' family and friends could not just be replicated.

"You can't fake the moms and dads, that's for sure. And that's disappointing," Pound said.

'If [outbreak] happens, it happens'

Pound also indicated he wasn't overly worried about a potential COVID-19 outbreak. A total of 91 people accredited for the Tokyo Games have tested positive since the beginning of July.

"If that happens, it happens. But non-competing in that context is not a boycott, that's a health issue that it's too bad for that particular country, but the health and safety of everybody else is even more important," he said.

Instead, Pound said he was more concerned about public opinion on Tokyo 2020 being swayed by social media.

"If people see that [social-media users] just totally uninformed then they can become irrelevant and that's really what you hope."

in the eye of anger: Thomas Bach's difficult Tokyo games .
The beautiful PR pictures with the torch Thomas Bach also has to renounce this time. For the President of the International Olympic Committee, the Corona Games of Tokyo will provide such some tests, including waiver of traditional symbolics. © --- / Kyodo / dpa Many Japanese take Thomas Bach evokes the holding on the summer games in Tokyo. "An example" Wool Bach puts an IOC speaker.

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