Tokyo 2020 President Mori Rejects Notion Of Holding Olympics Without Spectators

Tokyo 202One - Photo Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori has dismissed the possibility the rescheduled Olympic Games could be held without spectators with a committee set to decide whether cutting the numbers inside the stadia might be a necessity.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said last week that holding the Games behind closed doors is one of the scenarios that is being examined although it is not a solution that would be welcomed.

While accepting that all options will have to be examined in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Mori said spectators are an essential element of sport.


In an interview with Kyodo News, Mori said:

“We shouldn’t make spectators go through hard times. Sporting events are all about the whole country empathising.”

Mori’s words came after IOC senior member Dick Pound said that holding the Games with only Japanese spectators would run counter to the Olympic spirit.

At present Japan is refusing entry to non-Japanese people who have been to any of the 129 designated countries across the world within the past 14 days, including the United States, China and European nations, except under special circumstances.

Pound said that shutting out international spectators would undermine the universality and inclusivity of the Olympics.

“I think that will not be the Olympics in a sense that we understand them.”

A committee will convene a panel from September with the national and metropolitan governments to see if cutting the number of spectators will be necessary.

Voice FOr the Sport Tokyo Olympics pool

Mori wants the original schedule to remain for the torch relay which was due to travel through areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, saying it “would be impolite to regions that have given their cooperation.”

He also said it would be difficult to limit the number of athletes participating in the opening and closing ceremonies.

Organisers are looking to present a simplified Games and Mori hopes that Tokyo 2020 will be a blueprint for future Olympics.

“There are many things that should be fixed in Olympic operations. Even if we can’t realise it this time, it will help next time.

“I hope senior IOC officials will say the Tokyo Games have been a turning point for streamlining the Olympics.

“I feel they should continuously review what parts are necessary, remove a sport when a new one is introduced, or not selecting sports that require a new venue costing 30 billion to 50 billion yen ($28 million and $47 million).”

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Simon Richards
3 years ago

I totally understand that organisers want spectators at the Games. They’re really important and make the atmosphere. Hopefully they will be there.
BUT, for the athletes, who dedicate themselves for years on end to try and make it to the Games, IF it’s possible for them to go ahead, then we should be looking for them to go ahead. Even if that means without spectators.
Globally, we all need the Games to go ahead and give us all something to watch on TV and cheer along to.
Priority must be safe Games going ahead.
If we can, WITH spectators. But if we can’t, go ahead without and let’s all watch on the TV ????