“Greatly irrelevant”: IOC’s Dick Pound dismisses the lack of spectators at the Olympics

“Greatly irrelevant”: IOC’s Dick Pound dismisses the lack of spectators at the Olympics

A senior Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee calls the lack of public spectators at the Tokyo Olympics “irrelevant”.

The COVID-19 pandemic means that no member of the public can watch the events live, but Dick Pound told CBC in Tokyo on Thursday that this should not affect the competitions and ceremonies themselves.

“The crowd is largely irrelevant. And every once in a while you give them some waving lights,” Pound said, referring to Friday’s opening ceremony, in an interview with CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault. News on The National.

While the 68,000-seat Tokyo Olympic Stadium will be without public spectators for the opening ceremony, around 10,000 government and IOC officials are expected to attend.

WATCH | Pound discusses fans, restrictions on The National:

Adrienne Arsenault talks to Dick Pound, member of the International Olympic Committee, about the spectator ban and his concerns about the public’s opinion of the Games. 4:36

“If you have the president and secretary of seven international sports federations, I don’t think the world is going to stop. I mean, someone could try to make this molehill into a mountain,” Pound said.

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Earlier, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced that only 30 to 40 athletes out of a contingent of 370 will participate in the Opening Ceremony due to various health and safety protocols.

“Due to the rules for arriving at the Olympic Village described in the Tokyo 2020 manuals, athletes only arrive at the village five days before the competition. This means that there are fewer athletes in the village and the Most of them are about to compete, ”said Eric Myles, COC athletic director.

Pound added that the ceremony is a television-designed event that shouldn’t be negatively affected by the missing crowd. Meanwhile, events like softball and soccer have already started in empty stadiums.

“Ninety-nine point five percent of the people in the world, maybe more, will experience Tokyo on television or some other electronic platform. And you can create crowd noise, we’ve seen that in North America. You can pretend. “

Arsenault noted that the presence of family and friends of the athletes could not simply be replicated.

“You can’t fake moms and dads for sure. And it’s disappointing,” Pound said.

‘Yes [outbreak] it happens, it happens’

Pound also indicated that he was not too worried about a possible COVID-19 outbreak. A total of 91 people accredited for the Tokyo Games have tested positive since early July.

“If it happens, it happens. But non-competition in this context is not a boycott, it is a health issue that it is a pity for this particular country, but the health and safety of all the others are even more important, ”he said.

Instead, Pound said he was more concerned that public opinion on Tokyo 2020 is being swayed by social media.

“If people see this [social-media users] just totally misinformed, they can get irrelevant and that’s really what you’re hoping for. “

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