Pierre Ducrey, the IOC's Olympic Games operations director, has identified "key learnings" from Tokyo 2020 with the Smart Cities & Sport Summit in Copenhagen ©SmartCTandSport

Pierre Ducrey, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Games operations director, has identified three key requirements for prospective Games bidders in the wake of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Speaking via live link from Paris, where he is currently working with the Organising Committee for the 2024 Games, Ducrey told delegates at the Smart Cities & Sport Summit here that his three pointers would be simplification, collaboration and flexibility.

"Even before the pandemic we were looking at what are the parts that will not impact the sport and athletes that could be put aside to simplify the task at hand, and with Covid-19 it gets much more complicated," he said.

"When you have to do a task like this, in the Covid-19 environment collaboration becomes more important – we rely on every single stakeholder even more.

"The ability to function together was critical in succeeding in Tokyo – the roles that every stakeholder took up in addition to their normal roles.

Pierre Ducrey, the Olympic Games Operations Director, has identified
Pierre Ducrey, the Olympic Games Operations Director, has identified "key learnings" from the Smart Cities & Sport Summit in Copenhagen ©SmartCTandSport

"In Tokyo, we discovered a new level of collaboration with the entire Olympic Movement.

"In terms of flexibility – the environment we live in can change at any point in time, which puts a lot of pressure on the Olympic organiser.

"We need to build the project in a way that it can be changed at many points in time without affecting the overall result.

"The built-in flexibility in Tokyo allowed us to alter the timing of events to take into effect changing circumstances."

Asked to assess the legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games from the point of view of the IOC, Ducrey echoed one of the main points made by Tokyo 2020 organisers.

"One of the main legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Games was the organisation of a mass gathering in a unique health environment," he said.

"There was no footprint for something of that dimension.

"We worked with the World Health Organisation and Japanese organisers to manage 200-plus countries coming into one country where there were a number of health limitations.

"And that’s what we achieved.

"Our positive rate in terms of COVID-19 was very low.

"Vaccination, on-the-ground testing, social distancing, hygiene measures – they worked.

"And a number of these protocols will definitely be replicated in future events.

"This is the health legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games."

He added that there was a further health legacy in terms of how the conditions of severe heat were managed.

"We had concerns over this issue after the severe heat conditions the year before," said Ducrey.

"We had to work on a number of new protocols to keep athletes safer during the Games.

"We created protocols that we could decide upon closer to the events so we could postpone events or move them around in the schedule to avoid the most difficult parts of the day, and we took the decision to move the road running and walking events north to Sapporo.

Road events at the Tokyo 2020 Games were switched to Sapporo amidst fears of severe heat conditions in Tokyo ©Getty Images
Road events at the Tokyo 2020 Games were switched to Sapporo amidst fears of severe heat conditions in Tokyo ©Getty Images

"A lot of protocols will be available to event and Games organisers in the future.

"Another legacy dimension was the impact on Japanese society. 

"Through the Games we saw a lot of local community programmes pushing people to participate in sport.

"Figures show that, between 2013 and 2020, sport participation in the world has been decreasing, but in Japan, during that time, it has increased by seven per cent.

Asked to assess the lessons future Games organisers could learn concerning the management of critical circumstances such as a pandemic, he added: "You can see that working with the Olympic Movement you are with a team.

"The IOC was leading the effort but all of the stakeholders were part of the scheme.

"When you set out to deliver a Games, even if situation gets very complicated, you have players in the system that will be able to work with you shoulder to shoulder.

"That is something that should be reassuring for future organisers – even in a complex environment, we can help.

"The Games is the greatest sporting event there is.

"But through the Games you get so many opportunities to do so much more.

"New protocols for testing in mass environment have been developed, and a lot of people who have been working in the Games are now transferring back into society, where they can share what they have learned."