BERLIN (Reuters) – This summer’s Tokyo Olympics will be in the spotlight at a three-day virtual meeting of the International Olympic Committee starting on Wednesday, as organisers of the postponed Games struggle to overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were delayed by 12 months last year and are set to be staged amid tight health measures and a likely absence of international visitors in July and August.
It will be the first report to the IOC’s membership for the Tokyo Games organising committee under new chief Seiko Hashimoto. She replaced Yoshiro Mori three weeks ago after he was forced to resign over sexist remarks.
Two government sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that Japan has decided to stage the Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19.
But before they hear Tokyo’s report on Thursday, the IOC members will re-elect President Thomas Bach for a second term on Wednesday, with the German lawyer and 1976 Olympic fencing champion running unopposed.
IOC presidents are limited to a maximum of two terms, or a total of 12 years in office. Their first term is eight years and a re-election can keep them in place for another four.
Bach took over in 2013 and has steered the IOC through turbulent times, with the 2014 Sochi winter Games tarnished by a Russian doping scandal and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro summer Games hit by major financial problems and corruption.
With the postponement of Tokyo – the first for an Olympic Games outside world wars – and the ongoing problems for sports events caused by the pandemic the IOC is now facing its biggest crisis in decades.
There will be some good news for members on Wednesday though, with the Future Host commission set to report on the recent selection of Brisbane as the preferred bidder for the 2032 Olympics, locking in a future host 11 years in advance.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Alex Richardson