Stefanidi on Tokyo 2020 decision: Better late than later

Stefanidi on Tokyo 2020 decision: Better late than later

Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi issued on Sunday a positive reaction to the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021, having previously been an outspoken advocate of this measure.

Stefanidi, who won gold at Rio 2016, acknowledged on state broadcaster ERT that this was always going to be a difficult decision and said “it was made a little late, but could have been made even later, given that originally the International Olympic Committee had said they would announce their decision in May.”

She said her pride for being the last torchbearer at the Greek leg of the Olympic Flame Relay last month was mitigated by the fact that this was eventually done in front of empty stands at the Panathenaic Stadium.

“I would have liked the organizers to give us the opportunity to do it again in normal circumstances for next year’s Games, but I understand the Flame has now been delivered to Tokyo and they will keep it in Japan, so it's alright” said the Greek champion.

Deputy Minister for Sports Lefteris Avgenakis also expressed to ERT on Sunday the government’s hope for a return to action next month: “We hope, we estimate, that some time in May there will be some resumption of sports activity in Greece,” he said.

He also revealed Greek athletes have been encouraged to issue messages of support and patience to people so that they stay safe at home, and to start a campaign for blood donation.

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