Tokyo 2020 Olympic director Murofushi leaves to join Japan Sports Agency

Koji Murofushi, sports director for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, speaks during a medial huddle about his appointment as Japan Sports Agency Commissioner Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool)

Koji Murofushi, the sports director of Tokyo’s summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, has left the organising committee to take up a new role as commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency.

Murofushi, a former hammer thrower who won Olympic gold for Japan at Athens 2004 and a bronze medal at London 2012, was appointed sports director of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee in June 2014.

During his time with the organising committee, Murofushi helped finalise Tokyo’s venue plan and worked with international sports federations on a number of issues. Murofushi helped set up the event schedules for the Olympic and Paralympics and his departure comes less than a year until the start of the rescheduled Games.

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Murofushi will replace former swimmer Daichi Suzuki as commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency.

Yoshiro Mori, Tokyo 2020 president, said: “Mr Murofushi has an illustrious career as an Olympic gold medallist and a worldwide anti-doping advocate, as well as serving various roles in the Olympic Movement. I am sure our friends from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) will also be pleased to hear of his assumption of this important responsibility.

“Mr Murofushi assumed the role of Tokyo 2020 sports director soon after the organising committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced an overhaul of the initial venue plan from the bid phase. Mr Murofushi proceeded to put in countless miles meeting with international sports federations throughout the world for a variety of discussions.

“It is thanks to his tireless work that we were able to finalise a plan that optimises existing venues and befits our current age. Although of course he will be missed with next year’s Games just around the corner, everyone at Tokyo 2020 offers our most heartfelt good wishes to Mr Murofushi as he launches on an exciting new challenge.”

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Earlier this week, IOC president Thomas Bach said that “important and intensive discussions” would take place in the coming weeks over Covid-19 countermeasures for next summer’s reorganised Olympics, but warned that the potential development of vaccines should not be seen as a “silver bullet” for the event.

The staging of the Games amid Covid-19 has been a key focus for organisers after it was announced in March that the Olympics would run from July 23 to August 8 next year.

Bach said the IOC remains focused on delivering a “safe and successful Games” next year in close cooperation with local organisers.

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