Biometric technology will help to ensure that the 2021 Tokyo Olympics proceed as planned, according to IOC VP and Tokyo Coordination Commission chair John Coates.
The assurance comes by way of an interview in on the podcast The Ticket, in which Coates denied a recent report asserting that the Olympic Games would be cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Coates was unambiguous, asserting that there have been no discussions about cancelling the Games.
Coates went on to explain that Tokyo Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori had outlined some of the virus mitigation measures being undertaken in preparation for the summer Games, and that these include the long-planned use of biometric technology.
“They are adopting advanced facial recognition plans, they are co-ordinating their vaccine rollout and I asked if they could take into account the Olympic workforce numbering around 100,000 — to rank them highly for access to a vaccine because of their daily interaction with the athletes,” explained Coates.
Officials had been planning a major role for facial recognition at the Tokyo Olympics for years, envisioning a Games-wide system that would use biometrics to identify athletes, organizers, and media representatives. After the pandemic pushed back the 2020 Games to this year, authorities reportedly began exploring how this technology could be used for contact tracing and other COVID mitigation measures.
Coates’ latest comments would suggest that these efforts are still very much underway. More specific details about how biometric technology will be used could be on the way, with Coates indicating that the IOC plans to issue a “playbook” next month laying out all of its COVID-19-related procedures and mitigation measures in detail.
January 25, 2021 – by Alex Perala