- Title: Olympic Games needs to be postponed until 2021 - Former IOC marketing director
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: COSTA BRAVA, SPAIN (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, MICHAEL PAYNE, SAYING: "I think it's increasingly likely that a postponement is now the direction this is going. I think for the IOC it probably became clearer a little while ago but it's simply impossible for the IOC to postpone without the full undertaking support of the delivery partner - the Japanese government - and I think Japan is only just coming to terms that they have to postpone because even if they solve the coronavirus in Japan the rest of the world is not going to be able to get there and so now Japan I think is no longer losing face by saying they have to postpone the Games if it's a problem for the world and everybody has to get around the table and discuss now the mind-boggling complexity of all of the issues that would dictate to a postponement." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, MICHAEL PAYNE, SAYING: "What everybody is clearly looking for now is certainty. Some people have spoken about postponing until October/November but I don't think that's really going to solve the problem because the athletes will still have difficulty with training; all of the planning and the logistics so I think increasingly it's looking that you should be postponing 15 (months from now) or one year to around the same dates in the summer of 2021 but there are some sort of critical issues to be worked through starting for Japan with all of the facilities, the athletes' village; how do they either mothball them for a year or renegotiate all of the access and agreements. It's not like just postponing a league or one event. This... the complexity of this is close to comprehensible to understand." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, MICHAEL PAYNE, SAYING: "Looking at the sporting calendar next summer you have the world athletics championships and the world swimming championships but you could create a window in between; the world swimming championships are in Japan. If you were to bring them forward a week or two, if you were potentially to put the world athletics back a week you could have a sort of perfect summer of sport with the Olympics bookended by the two world championships." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, MICHAEL PAYNE, SAYING: "The IOC has over the years faced many challenges. If you go back to the early 80's with the boycotts. Those were existential challenges; not just whether the Games were going to take place as to whether they would ever take place again. When you have all of the teams pulling out of Moscow and then Los Angeles. Since then you've faced most recently three months before the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang you had the threat of nuclear war with President Trump and (North Korean leader) Kim (Jong-un) and a lot of people then saying the Games had to be cancelled. So this has also taught the IOC not to rush in to a decision but clearly the world is now facing a scenario that has never been faced before and we're having to make adjustments." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, MICHAEL PAYNE, SAYING: "I firmly believe that there is the potential in the end for the Tokyo Olympics to be the greatest Olympics ever. The ultimate celebration of humanity because nothing symbolises the world coming together - all 206 countries - than the Olympic Games. It's that... it's the power of the Olympic Games once every four years in that celebration and the world pulls through this terrible health crisis there will be a need to celebrate and coming together and I think (Japanese) Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe a couple of days ago began to sort of change the Japanese focus towards the Olympics of saying that they would like to stage a perfect Olympic Games to help the celebration of the world coming through this crisis. So the potential to the future could be for a great Olympic Games for humanity."
- Keywords: International Olympic Committee Japan Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games coronavirus covid-19
- Reuters ID: LVA001C69VZ2F
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Various
- Duration: 00:04:13
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Olympics,Sport
- Story Text: The former marketing director of the International Olympic Committee Michael Payne called on Monday (March 23) for the 2020 Tokyo Games to be postponed for a year because of the global threat of coronavirus.
Speaking to Reuters, Payne, who was the IOC's director of marketing from 1988 to 2004, said that with the global health threat posed by the virus meaning that many athletes would be unable to attend the Games this July, it is likely that this would persuade Japan and the IOC to agree to a postponement, although Payne admitted there would be massive logistical problems in moving the Games.
He added that if the world could come together for an Olympics in Tokyo at a future date, hopefully in 2021, it would have the potential to be "the greatest Olympics ever".
(Production: Tim Hart)
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