Champion pole vaulter Stefanidi supports holding Tokyo Games in 2021
TOKYO (JAPAN) – Gold medal-winning pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi, who championed the postponement of the Tokyo Games last year, now supports holding the Games in July with or without spectators.
The Greek champion accused organisers of risking the lives of athletes and demanded a plan B before the International Olympic Committee and Japanese government decided to reschedule the Games in 2020 over the coronavirus.
In an interview with Kyodo News on Sunday, the pole vaulter said the Games should go ahead as planned.
“I think that it’s a very different situation than what we had last year, where we didn’t really know anything about the virus,” she said.
“If we have to have the Olympics without spectators, I would prefer that than not having the games at all,” she added.
“If we can have the Olympics with some spectators, that will be better, of course … For me the worst case scenario would be to completely cancel.”
A member of the World Athletics’ Athletes’ Commission, Stefanidi said there had been a change of attitude among most of the 15,000 athletes who are preparing to take part in the Games.
In 2020, she said 80 percent of World Athletics athletes surveyed backed postponing or cancelling the Games.
“But if we do this (survey) again, it will be reversed, then 80 percent of the athletes would want the Olympics to go ahead,” she said.