To mark one year to go until the start of the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee released a video on Thursday (23 July) featuring message of support for all athletes aiming to participate at next year’s Games.
The video was shown on the main screen at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo at 20:00 local time – the same date and time the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony will take place in 2021.
Tokyo 2020’s vision is that sport has the power to change the world and our future, and to bring the people of the world together. Athletes are the stars of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the presence of athletes - gathering from all over the world, competing fairly, performing at their best, expressing mutual respect - will highlight afresh the best of sport and the kind of society the Games can help to create.
The messages in the video released today evoke the excitement of the Games and express support for all athletes who are striving every day to adapt to the “new normal”. They express Tokyo 2020’s determination to keep a beacon of hope alight until sports activities can resume as normal. The video also expresses gratitude and respect for all those who are providing medical support and social care during these hard times. “Plus One” signifies the one step forward we are taking, full of hope, one year prior to next year’s Games - a message that went viral on social media following the decision to postpone the Games.
Tokyo 2020 hopes that the postponed Games will see athletes overcome their own limits, and in doing so inspire and encourage people around the world. In the meantime, Tokyo 2020 will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games in 2021.
This video highlights how athletes around the world are preparing for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and how they are feeling right now. Athlete Rikako Ikee shares a heartfelt message inviting us to take a step forward towards next year’s opening day: “Imagine the world in a year: a world where the curtain is set to rise on the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said: “I cannot imagine how athletes set to take centre stage must have felt about the first-ever postponement of the Games. People from all walks of life—including children across Japan looking forward to fiercely-contested competitions, local residents in the towns and cities hosting competition venues and those participating in host town initiatives—were planning to cheer them on and take part in the Games.
“In this difficult situation, athletes are training with eyes on the future, and those whose work supports society are fighting on the front lines every day. I believe humanity’s solidarity will lead us to the end of this long dark tunnel, to a moment of pure joy when athletes from all over the world gather on the Games’ stage. In that moment, the power of sports is sure to uplift and encourage people around the globe.
“Inspired by the beacon of hope that lit up the Olympic Stadium today, the Organising Committee will put forth every effort toward preparing for next year’s Games, ensuring they remain in memory forever as a symbol of unity and solidarity as together we work to overcome the challenges of COVID-19."
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said: “Response to the novel coronavirus disease is a challenge facing all humankind. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will continue to dedicate its resources to fighting this battle and to delivering a safe Games.
“In addition, while devising ways to curb costs in order to gain the understanding of the people of Tokyo and the rest of Japan, we will ensure that the success of the Games leads to the further development of Tokyo and Japan.
“The Tokyo 2020 Games provide enormous hope for athletes training hard for next summer and for children who hold the future in their hands. The local governments and people of the communities are also engaging in preparations for the Games.
“We will work closely with all parties concerned and advance preparations to hold a successful Games brimming with hope, which will serve as a symbol of humankind bonding even more strongly as the world came together as one to overcome this difficult situation.
International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons said: “The one year to go mark gives everyone involved in the Games, especially the athletes, something to aim and aspire for next year. The Games offer hope for the whole world and the IPC is fully committed with all stakeholders to ensure the safe and successful staging of the Paralympics in 2021.
“It may feel like Groundhog Day celebrating this landmark again, but the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be well worth the wait. They will be a global celebration of human endeavour, resilience and hope and I am fully confident that the performances of Para athletes will entertain the world and have a profound impact on driving social inclusion in Japan and around the world.”
Japanese Paralympic Committee President Mitsunori Torihara said: “In February 2020, the Japanese Paralympic Committee announced its slogan for the Tokyo 2020 Games: ‘Overcome! We are all in this together.’ Regardless of their background, Para athletes, those who assist them and their fans all have different concerns and goals. This slogan embodies the hope that a successful Paralympic Games, leveraging the power of all of them, will help make society more inclusive.
“We are facing an unprecedented situation in the wake of COVID-19, but we will not be deterred by adversity; we must find a way forward. With the help of Para athletes and everyone else who has led the way, we can overcome this crisis, turn a disaster into something positive, and host a Games that shows the true value of a one-year postponement. We will do everything in our power to prepare an environment where our Para athletes can achieve their best at next year's Games.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place between 24 August and 5 September 2021. Around 4,300 Para athletes from more than 160 countries will compete in 22 sports.