Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games held a one-year-to-go ceremony at the National Stadium on Thursday as the event was postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japanese swimming star Ikee Rikako delivered a message for athletes around the world from the empty arena.
«The Olympics and Paralympics are special for athletes. I think that the sudden disappearance of such a big goal in front of us brought a feeling of loss that athletes could not describe,» she said.
Rikako shared her personal story of fighting leukaemia by saying that the future that she thought of «changed to another world overnight.» «It was a very tough experience,» she added.
The athlete called on to «think of the coming year, not simply as a one-year postponement, but as a plus one.»
On Wednesday, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach said the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be a «great comeback festival of sport.»