Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Olympic oath updated, number of oath-takers doubled

Olympic Oath: The number of oath-takers at the ceremony have also been doubled from three to six to ensure gender parity at the Tokyo Games. Japan will pick one male and one female participant from each group for the event that has been an integral part of the Games since 1920. 

Created On: Jul 14, 2021 13:35 IST
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Olympic oath has been updated from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. 

The number of oath-takers at the ceremony have also been doubled from three to six to ensure gender parity at the Tokyo Games. Japan will pick one male and one female participant from each group for the event that has been an integral part of the Games since 1920. 

Besides them, two coaches and two judges will also take the Olympic oath this time. In the past, the Olympic oath was taken by an athlete from the host country on behalf of all competitors along with a coach and a judge. 

Why have the number of oath-takers been increased?

The decision was taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee in their drive towards achieving gender equality to enable full gender balance amongst those taking the oath on behalf of all Games participants. 

Achieving gender balance among the oath-takers was one of the large number of commitments from the IOC and the Organising Committee to promote women in the sport at all levels and in all structures, as stated in the Olympic Charter.

Updated Olympic Oath 

The IOC informed that the Olympic oath has been reworked slightly to incorporate “inclusion and equality” in it. The body said that two words -inclusion and equality — have been added to the opening line of the Oath.

Depending on the group that is speaking, the new oath now reads: 

“In the name of the athletes”, “In the name of all judges” or “In the name of all the coaches and officials”.

“We promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play, inclusion and equality. Together we stand in solidarity and commit ourselves to sport without doping, without cheating, without any form of discrimination. We do this for the honour of our teams, in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, and to make the world a better place through sport.”

Why has the Olympic Oath wording been updated?

The Olympic oath has been updated as a result of a set of recommendations from the IOC Athletes’ Commission to increase opportunities for athlete expression during the Olympic Games. The recommendations were approved by the IOC Executive Board in April 2021.

The IOC Athletes' Commission Chair Kirsty Coventry said in a release: "We Olympians are role models and ambassadors. We stand together to send out to the world a powerful message of equality, inclusion, solidarity, peace, and respect. The Olympic oath-takers selected for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be fully gender-equal and will take the Olympic oath on behalf of all the Olympians, judges, coaches, and officials, who they represent, in the true spirit of solidarity."

Olympic Oath: History

The Olympic oath was recited for the first time at the Opening Ceremony of the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. The original text of the Olympic oath was written by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who is the founder of the modern Olympic Games.

The text has though evolved to reflect the changing nature of sports competitions.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be first gender-equal Games

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-equal Games with female athletes places at almost 49 percent. All participating National Olympic Committees (NOCs) had been offered the opportunity to be represented by a minimum of one male and one female athlete at all editions of the Olympic Summer Games.

The IOC Executive Board also changed the IOC's protocol guidelines to allow one male and one female athlete to jointly carry their country's flag during the Opening Ceremony. 

This will encourage all NOCs to use this opportunity to send a strong message of inclusive and gender-equal Olympic Games where women and men have equal prominence.

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