TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis believes Tokyo Olympic organising committee president Yoshiro Mori’s decision to step down after making sexist remarks was the right thing to do.
Miro resigned on Friday, after suggesting that women talk too much during meetings.
On February 3, the 83-year-old former Japan prime minister said at an Olympics committee meeting, “If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.”
Mori apologised the next day but said that he was not considering resigning.
Initially, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it considered the issue closed after Mori's apology, but it later issued a statement saying his remarks were “absolutely inappropriate.”
According to multiple international reports, backlash from the IOC, the Japanese public, corporate sponsors and sports figures had made him reconsider his position at the helm.
Lewis, who has been vociferous on gender equality and racism in sport, said the IOC’s initial stance to consider the issue closed was disheartening.
“He (Mori) is doing the right thing by resigning, even though he is mighty influential to the upcoming Games. The IOC said the matter is closed after Mr Mori apologised, but in face of significant public outcry they are now singing a different song. Their initial attitude was disappointing.
“They now look contrived. As if it’s only because of public sentiment,” said Lewis.
Mori’s resignation comes a little over five months before the Games are scheduled to open on July 23.
According to online reports Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga said Mori's remarks are not in line with Japan's national interest but his job remains up to the organising committee.
Additionally, hundreds of Olympic volunteers quit in protest against Mori's comments as did some Olympic torch relay runners.
Lewis said that Mori’s comments were “old school” and “of that era”.
“He made inappropriate comments and given the efforts for gender equality and the IOC’s stance on gender equality, at least on the field of play, I think the IOC isn’t as aggressive on pushing for gender equality at the head table as they should be.
“Mori has helped battle with the unprecedented covid19 pandemic and the rescheduled Games but racism and sexism is still prevalent in the global sport movement. Mr Mori revealed his unconscious bias in respect of women in board room,” said the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president.
Lewis believes social injustice issues aren’t going away and it’s a reality that the IOC has to contend with.
He added, Rule 50 and the issue of Black Lives Matter will be another challenge regarding unconscious bias.
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”