It could be the world’s first global gathering…

‘It could be the world’s first global gathering… if it goes ahead, it will be on a whole new scale’ Dame Katherine Grainger says Tokyo Olympics can have a huge emotional impact on the globe after the coronavirus crisis’ Dame Katherine Grainger believes the Tokyo Olympics will be an event ‘on a whole new scale’ if it goes ahead as anticipated after the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan took the unprecedented step in postponing the Games in March as the world grappled with containing the outbreak of Covid-19.

For all sports, a return to mass-spectator attendance will need careful and precise management but if successful with the Olympics, Grainger believes it will lead to an event with a renewed sense of magnitude.

Dame Katherine Grainger says the Tokyo Games can have a huge positive impact on the world

Speaking to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport via videolink on Tuesday, Grainger said: ‘Postponement was not a surprise. Olympics have been cancelled because of world wars but never postponed – it is a unique position. 

‘Looking to next year, if it all goes ahead as we hope it could potentially be the first global gathering of the world. 

‘These events are very emotional. It is an incredible gathering… if it goes ahead next year it will be on a whole new scale.

‘People recognise that when the Games come around, it has an incredible impact on all of society. When Team GB do well, over 75 per cent say they are proud of the success of that team.’

Grainger, the most decorated female Olympian in British history, was appearing before the DCMS for UK Sport to outline the need to maintain funding for athletes with the Games delayed.

‘Every sector in society is in need of money,’ she said. ‘What we are saying is that we very strongly believe that Olympics and Paralympics holds a special place in the public hearts and minds and it is seen as a very important thing in society.

‘Our funding commitment runs out in 2021 but what we need, ideally in the next few weeks, is a one-year rollover to March 2022 so that sports have that reassurance.’