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Gerardo Werthein, member of the IOC Executive Board: “The Olympic Games are going to take place”

Gerardo Werthein is president of the Argentine Olympic Committee and part of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (Photo: EFE)
Gerardo Werthein is president of the Argentine Olympic Committee and part of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (Photo: EFE)

The atypical situation of the pandemic also became a groove to feed rumors about a possible cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics. In the middle of the versions, the president of the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Gerardo Werthein cleared up all kinds of doubts about the most important event on the planet: “The Games are done. What is discussed is how they will be done. The Games begin on July 23 “.

Werthein’s statement is in tune with the messages issued by the Government of Japan and the IOC itself after the versions released by the newspaper The Times on a possible suspension of the event that will take place between July 23 and August 8, 2021 in Tokyo after the postponement last year due to the global health situation.

It is not discussed if we are going to have Games, but how those Games are going to be. If we are going to have JJOO with outside viewers or not, how many viewers, what will be the procedures. From the IOC we are working with a number of highly professional specialists who are analyzing the necessary measures for our athletes to participate in an area with high security measures ”, he explained before Infobae.

Werthein is an absolutely authoritative voice on the issue because beyond commanding the COA since 2009, he is sitting in one of the most important chairs of the IOC after being elected together with the Philippine leader Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski as one of the members of the Board. Board of the entity. “We are going to support countries so that athletes can be vaccinated, but without affecting the quotas of citizens. It must be taken into account that, for example, in Argentina a complete delegation can be 220 people ”, explained the person in charge of sport in the country who, after the Olympics, already announced that he will leave his position as the highest authority.

Japan is preparing to host the Olympic Games between July and August (Photo: Reuters)
Japan is preparing to host the Olympic Games between July and August (Photo: Reuters)

The IOC works to generate more effective security measures and ensure the care of athletes, but always bearing in mind that scenarios change day by day. Six months before the event, vaccinations can be momentous both for the athletes and for the country that will host the competition: “There are countries that do not have access to the vaccine yet and we are going to make sure that everyone can have access. Of course the decision to get vaccinated is voluntary, but getting vaccinated helps protect everyone. “

There is a bubble system that is being perfected day by day. And also a testing system, that with new technologies today in 20 minutes you can take an exam. That allows us to test a large number of people in a few minutes. The more tests, the more protection there will be in the Olympic Village. We are working on trips and arrivals. There will be no contact with the means of public transport, since the athletes will go in dedicated, specific means. This, of course, with the distance and all the measures ”, he detailed about the plan that is already underway.

Japan is an “example country” and it is working “so that all countries can enter.” Beyond the emphasis on enabling athletes the opportunity to access vaccination, there is also the focus on advancing immunization in the host country: “When the logistics of Japan begins to grow, that citizenship will have a very high level of protection”.

These projections are made after that country decreed the health emergency in Tokyo due to the record of infections: “A state of emergency in Japan is not like the lock down that we have seen or like the one we star in. It is a way that they call it an emergency, but they can go outside ”, Werthein clarified about other points that also aroused concern in recent days.

“Clearly they will be atypical Games – he anticipated – because we are in a pandemic that affects the way we live and everyone. Pandemics do not distinguish, they affect everyone equally ”. In this vein, the different international federations fine-tune the details to specify the qualifying tournaments that will award the 40% of tickets that have yet to be delivered for the Olympics.

Beyond promoting early vaccination among the participants of the contest so that the medication can generate the antibodies, the focus will also be placed on monitoring the tests and compliance with safety measures. “The Olympic Village is going to be a so-called sterile center. If the athletes are going to be tested almost daily, hopefully the athletes are vaccinated and the transports will be specific meansWhen they enter the competition zone they will not have contact with anyone other than with other competitors who are part of the same bubble. Then the risk is very limited”, He analyzed.

To have a magnitude of the event, the last Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro during 2016 had the presence of 11,551 athletes from 207 different Committees. For this reason, the starting shot of the event in Tokyo will also mean a message worldwide: “An Olympic Game is something much more important than a sports competition. The Olympic Games are the engine of sport. It is a stimulus for society and to recover. The Olympics are a very strong signal to the world that we are coming together again with care, safety and promoting sport, which encourages physical activity”.

Although today it is “risky” to make an accurate prediction about how the Games will finally take place, optimism about the advance of vaccination around the world is an important driver as well as the transformation that this event can mean in the middle of a pandemic. “It is going to impact that 200 countries meet again in a celebration that has to do with sport. We are going to have peculiarities. Maybe we will see the stadiums with more or less public. It is being analyzed. We are seeing and measuring the risks that exist. An open-air stadium is not the same as a closed one, for example. That will be determined by scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who are the ones who advise us, ”he clarified.

“It is a complex project with a number of measures. Circumstances force us to do these things and it is a great challenge. This generation of athletes must be preserved. Do not make statements that cloud or question without knowing in detail the work that is being done. These speculations are a very great injustice because they create anxiety and anguish for all athletes. Instead of thinking about how they prepare, they make them think about whether they will be able to go“Werthein reflected on the responsibility when it comes to disseminating information about the most important event in sports and one of the most important on the planet.

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The IOC statement on the future of the Tokyo Olympics

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Kim Diaz

Kim recently joined the team, and she writes for the Headline column of the website. She has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism.

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