Japan’s record medal haul at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will give the country a lift as it prepares to host the 2020 Games, Tokyo’s top organiser told AFP.
Japanese athletes collected 13 medals, four of them gold, in their best- ever Winter Games performance, Tokyo 2020’s chief executive officer noted, providing a welcome fillip as the city pushes ahead with preparations.
“Japanese athletes have done splendidly, winning more winter medals than ever before,” Toshiro Muto said in an interview in Pyeongchang.
“Breaking that record will give the Tokyo Olympics a boost,” he added.
“At Tokyo 2020 we expect to win even more medals hopefully so it will be important in the time left to work hard in the development of top athletes.”
As the Olympic torch passes from Pyeongchang to Tokyo, Japanese organisers will be under increased pressure to complete venues and meet budgetary targets following a series of public relations disasters.
Muto insisted 2020 organisers had learnt much from the Winter Games, not least in how Pyeongchang dealt with an outbreak of norovirus that struck more than 200 people — mostly security staff.
“In terms of Games management this was our last chance to observe on site,” he said.
“The cases of norovirus were a surprise to us, and I’m sure to South Koreans, but it was a valuable lesson for us in how to deal with unexpected emergencies.
“The Korean organisers moved quickly and worked with the country’s government to arrange quarantine measures,” he added. “Tokyo will also need to be able to act swiftly and flexibly.”