Olympic preparations – The Agenda with Stephen Cole
WHAT'S THE ISSUE?
The stadiums may be empty, but more than 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries are still heading to Tokyo to take part in events marking the very pinnacle of their individual sports.
So how do you organize getting a national team to a global sporting event in the midst of a pandemic – ensuring they have time to train and protect themselves and the people of Japan from COVID-19?
Hugh Robertson, Chair of the British Olympic Association joins The Agenda with Stephen Cole to discuss the problems of preparing athletes for a pandemic games.
MEET THE EXPERT
Hugh Robertson is the current Chair of the British Olympic Association.
Previously, he was the UK Minister for Sport and the Olympics responsible for the delivery of London 2012. He oversaw all aspects of the budget, construction, operational management and legacy and was also Minister for Sport during an unprecedented period of British sporting success.
This included securing the most ambitious ever program of major sports events for this country and delivering the best ever funding package for Olympic sport through to Rio 2016 and beyond.
WHAT DOES ROBERTSON SAY?
"It's going to be a games like no other," Robertson says. "But I think you have to remember that for the athletes it is all about the sport. Once they get there, they will want to do what every single Olympic athlete before them has wanted to do, which is to win a gold medal and that remains unchanged."
But he adds that the level of COVID testing has added an extra layer of organization: "We are absolutely doing everything we can to ensure not only that we test our athletes to ensure they turn up at the start line in the best possible shape, but that they do so in a way that protects the host population."
"We're all going to have to learn to live with COVID and learn to live with it in a way that allows us to return to some form of normality whilst keeping everybody as safe as possible. And I think the Olympic Games will be a terrific example of that."
ALSO ON THE AGENDA:
- Tatsuo Ogura - Director of International Communications from the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games joins us to discuss the decision to go ahead with the event in spite of the pandemic, and his hopes his city can still pull off an incredible sporting spectacle.
- Dan Orlowitz, sports writer from the Japan Times, joins us to reflect the mood of the people of Tokyo ahead of what should have been a once-in-a-lifetime sporting event.