The awful reaction of President Bach at the “tragic scene of the fall” of the Women’s Pursuit. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The awful reaction of President Bach at the “tragic scene of the fall” of the Women’s Pursuit.

Watch the games in secret with the officials ......

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
President Bach watching the Women’s Pursuit final. He was engrossed in a conversation with the woman next to him.

It was just after 5:00 p.m. on February 15 at the National Speed Skating Oval, where the speed skating events of the Beijing Winter Olympics will be held, when there was a sudden commotion in one of the spectator stands. It was IOC President Thomas Bach (68), accompanied by a man and two female athletes.

He sat down in a “first-class seat” right in front of the goal. The spectators in the immediate vicinity and others murmured to each other, “Thomas Bach? But the majority of people in the hall and most of the press did not notice.

The men’s and women’s “Pursuit” competitions were being held at the National Speed Skating Oval that day. So President Bach came to watch the competition in secret. As soon as he took his seat, he took off his jacket and started laughing and talking to the female athlete next to him, in a very relaxed mood. He seemed to be in a very good mood, touching the woman’s shoulder occasionally and chatting with her. Even when the time for the women’s pursuit final was approaching and the hall was dark, he was still talking. He was criticized for talking too long at the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics and the Beijing Olympics, but perhaps he is a talker at heart.

President Bach poses for a photo with the people involved. He seemed to be in a good mood.

About 15 minutes after Bach’s appearance, the women’s pursuit final between Japan and Canada started. Japan went into the final with the same gold medal team of Miho Takagi, Nana Takagi, and Ayano Sato from the previous event. In the quarterfinals, they set a new Olympic record, and in the semifinals, they won by a huge margin over ROC. On this day, the beauty of the formation of the three Japanese riders was still intact, and the audience cheered loudly with each lap.

Most of you probably know how this race ended. With each lap, Canada was closing the gap on Japan. Would Japan be able to escape or would Canada be able to turn the tables in the end? At the last corner of the last lap, as everyone in the venue was leaning forward not to miss the scene of a close finish, the Japanese line was disrupted.

The next moment, I saw the body of one of the competitors slide across the rink and crash into the wall. Nana, the older sister of the Takagi sisters, had fallen with 60 meters left to the goal. The other two looked back, realized everything, and crossed the finish line with their hands on their knees. The scene on the rink was so cruel: the Canadian team on its winning run, and the Japanese team in tears, unable to accept the reality.

Nana Takagi falls at the last corner. They were only 60 meters away from the goal.

What was President Bach doing during those three minutes? When the competition started, he hardly looked at the rink. As I expected, he refrained from talking to the woman next to him, but he was absent-mindedly absent-minded. Even when a “tragedy” occurred at the last corner and the audience screamed, he did not look at the rink at all. When the Canadian team crossed the finish line and the audience applauded, he looked around and applauded with a smile on his face, as if he was about to applaud. About 15 minutes after the competition ended, President Bach left the venue.

The Japanese team’s fall occurred in the process of trying to fend off the oncoming Canadian team. Even though he was confronted with a scene that seemed to condense the fear and essence of sports, where victory and defeat are two sides of the same coin, President Bach was not at all interested. The president of the IOC, whose purpose is to “create a better world through sport,” was not at all interested.

Miho Takagi and Ayano Sato comforting a crying Nana Takagi.

Miho Takagi, the younger sister of Nana Takagi, appeared in the interview area after the race and acted stoutly, but her eyes slightly moistened when she said, “In competitive sports, the result is everything. In her own words, she seemed to realize the magnitude of the fact that the victory she had been striving for for more than 300 days a year together with the members of the team had just fallen out of her hands.

President Bach has often been criticized for his political behavior and lack of interest in the Olympics and sports itself. As far as I could see, he seemed to have no interest in the tears of the Japanese team or their meaning.

  • Photography Japan Magazine Association (competition)

Photo Gallery4 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles