One Year to Tokyo Games
Today marks one year to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games and the New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith, says they are fully committed to the path ahead.
The Olympic Games were postponed just four months ago and now, with 365 days until the new Opening Ceremony date, New Zealand Olympic sport is facing both an incredible challenge, and an opportunity.
“Next year, we have the opportunity to take part in an Olympic Games that celebrates the world’s resilience and the unifying power of sport,” said CEO Kereyn Smith. “But we must not underestimate the task at hand. We are part of the reorganisation of the world’s most complex event taking place amidst global uncertainty.
“We know, however, just how much the Olympic Games mean to New Zealand athletes and all of New Zealand, and for that reason, we are 100% focused on our Team’s preparation, planning and delivery.”
Smith said the Tokyo 2020 competition schedule and venues had been reconfirmed this month which is a significant step forward.
“The basic framework of the revised Olympic Games has been confirmed. The next step is for the Olympic Games joint task force to move forward with Covid-19 countermeasures which will impact the New Zealand Team environment next year.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Joint Task Force comprises IOC and Tokyo Organising Committee leaders and is informed by a partnership with WHO along with other international and Japanese agencies.”
While organisers work to predict and plan for an uncertain world, athletes to are facing unprecedented times.
New Zealand Team Chef de Mission to Tokyo Rob Waddell says not only does today mark one year to go to the Olympic Games, but it also marks the eve of the original 2020 games.
“Today, in Tokyo, we would have been coming together as the New Zealand Team at the traditional team function. We would have been ready to march in the Opening Ceremony that would have been about to take place."
He said athletes’ experiences were all different. “These coming weeks mark moments in time that had been years in the making. Some may be feeling a sense of loss, others have been forced to delay life plans,”
“Others, however, have been given an invaluable opportunity to grow stronger or recover from injury. It is a real-time of reflection and we’re ready to do our utmost to ensure they are in the best position possible this time next year.”
Sam Meech Adapts Olympic Preparation
Unable to travel and facing an unusual New Zealand winter at home, Olympic bronze medal winning sailor Sam Meech (Rio 2016, laser), together with the wider New Zealand Sailing Team, has been looking to replicate the environment the team will face at the Olympic Sailing Venue in Enoshima, Japan right here in New Zealand.
“We don’t really know what the next few months will look like internationally but all we can do is take it as it comes and work on what we can by ourselves in New Zealand,” Meech said.
Yachting New Zealand high performance director Ian Stewart said they were looking at ways to fill the gap left by international competition. This included regular racing on Elliott 7s alongside members of Emirates Team New Zealand, team camps in Northland in conditions similar to those found at the Olympic venue in Enoshima and participation at various domestic regattas, like when Olympic 49erFX silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech lined up in a fleet of 40 boats at the recent 29er national championships.
“It's about having the best training partners, and going to the best venues and simulating the best racing we can. With such a long build-up there are no excuses not to be fit by the time of the Games,” continued Meech.
“We will then look to take advantage of any opportunities we get for any top racing in the next 12 months.”