The situation is a disaster for Bach

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The situation is a disaster for Bach





© AFP
Four decades ago, athlete spokesman Thomas Bach fought an Olympic boycott – now the athletes boycott his plans.


The IOC chief insists on delayed tactics for the Tokyo games. Sport speaks the course with one voice more and more firmly.

The situation is a disaster for Bach

To understand the now, a brief turn to 1980. The summer games in Moscow were just around the corner, the Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan. The West threatened to stay away from the Olympics. And Thomas Bach, the Olympic team fencing champion from 1976, experienced a lesson “that is irreplaceable”, as he later said.

Bach was already an athlete spokesman in 1980, he fought against the German boycott plans with all his might. But the then SPD Chancellor Helmut Schmidt treated the athletes with condescension, “hard on the limit of what is bearable”, Bach said in a speech at the German Rowing Association in March 2008. Nothing helped. Back then West German sport remained at home and the fire of despair over it, Bach said to the rowers in 2008, “is still burning”. He never wanted to pass out like this again, this wish has accompanied him all the years, right down to the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It is already a subtle point that is spinning the history of sports there: 40 years after Moscow, it is just the athletes who boycotted his course to host the Summer Games in Tokyo in July 2020. The IOC publicly brought a shift into the game for the first time on Sunday evening, but Bach asked for another four weeks to consider and did not rule out holding the games as planned in July 2020 – he also explicitly referred to the games boycott of 1980, which the Politicians pushed through too quickly at the time, in his opinion.

Prominent IOC members parrot the party line

Various functionaries and virologists recently mentioned the brew from unreasonable training conditions, the collapsing anti-doping system – and the prospect that the corona pandemic can hardly be over in four months, so that half the world should be pulled together in one place .

The fencer Max Hartung has now issued the most remarkable signal to date. He said he would not travel to Tokyo if the Olympians continued to cling to the July 2020 appointment. And Hartung is unlikely to be the last one with this request, his word counts for something in the industry. The 30-year-old is a co-founder and board member of Athleten Deutschland, an independent sports association. The initiators founded it three years ago because they believed that they could only have a say in organized sport if they did not allow themselves to be overwhelmed by its structure. How right they are with it has never been so clear as these days. Prominent members of the IOC athletic committees are still parroting the party line, even if the resistance itself is gradually growing in the IOC.

The situation is already a disaster for Bach. Sport should speak with one voice, that was always important to him, the master of sport political stripping; it was mostly his voice, which Bach often knew how to disguise. Now the sport speaks increasingly firmly with one voice against its course. Many athlete representatives recently reported that Bach was instructive and stubborn in telephone switching, that he hadn’t presented any alternative plans for a long time, and that uncertainty had sown.

Sounds a lot like Moscow 1980. Only that the athlete spokesman from the past is now on the other side.

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