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Ready for the Olympics? Here’s a complete list of Olympians with New Jersey ties

Ready for the Olympics

New Jersey doesn’t have the most Olympians. That honor falls to California, with 126 among the 613 athletes formally introduced on July 13.

The Garden State might not bring home the most medals, either. But there’s plenty of Olympic spirit from Alpine to Cape May — and not all of it supporting Team USA.

Meet the athletes at the 2021 Olympics in Japan with ties back to New Jersey. Events will begin July 21, with the Opening Ceremonies scheduled for July 23.

Edrice “Bam” Adebayo

Basketball, United States

The Miami Heat’s 6-foot-9 center/forward was born in Newark, but grew up in Pinetown, North Carolina.

Named North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year, Adebayo attended the University of Kentucky for one season, and was selected No. 14 overall by Miami in the 2017 NBA Draft. A 2020 NBA All-Star, he averaged 18.7 points, nine rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.

Lizzie Bird

Steeplechase, Great Britain

Bird set the British national record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:22.8) on July 10 at the Wanda Diamond League Meet, improving her personal best by almost four seconds.

A Princeton alumna (2017), Bird qualified for Team Great Britain by winning the steeplechase at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester, England on June 26. She was a two-time Ivy League champion and four-time NCAA Regional qualifier in the steeplechase. The Ivy cross country champion in 2015, Bird holds the Princeton indoor record in the mile.

Colton Brown

Judo, United States

Brown, a 2009 Piscataway High School graduate, will be competing in his second Olympics at the 90kg weight class.

He has competed in three World Championships and two Senior World Championships, and most recently finished in fifth place at the Pan-American Senior Championships in April.

Claire Collins

Rowing, United States

A Princeton University alumna (2019), Collins will be part of the United States women’s four.

A California native who grew up in McLean, Virginia, Collins helped the Tigers win four straight Ivy titles. She was a four-time All-Ivy honoree and three-time All-American, and was nominated as NCAA Woman of the Year.

Fencing, United States

A Riverdale resident who attended Pompton Lakes High School, Dubrovich will compete in foil for the United States women’s fencing team.

Dubrovich was a three-time NCAA first-team All-American (2013, 2014, 2016) at Columbia University and won three NCAA tournament medals and two NCAA team titles. While at Pompton Lakes, she won the 2010 NJSIAA foil championship.

Tracy Eisser

Rowing, United States

Bergen County native Tracy Eisser will compete in her second Olympics after partnering with Megan Kalmoe to win the women’s pair final at the U.S. Olympic team trials in June in West Windsor. Rowing will be held in late July at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay.

Eisser, a 31-year-old who trains out of U.S. Rowing’s Princeton headquarters, calls women’s pair the event that she is “most passionate about.” At the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, the Fair Lawn High and Cornell graduate was fifth in the quadruple sculls.

Nic Fink

Swimming, United States

Fink, a Pingry and University of Georgia graduate, made Team USA for the first time at age 27, winning the 200-meter breaststroke (2:07.55) in a 1-2 finish with club teammate Andrew Wilson.

Fink failed to finish in the top two at either the 2012 or 2016 Trials, and he had another heartbreak with a third-place showing in the 100 breast a few days before he finally qualified.

Baseball, United States

A Toms River native, Frazier will be Team USA’s starting third baseman in his first Olympics. He became available after the Pittsburgh Pirates designated him for assignment in May.

Frazier first emerged to the national stage in 1998 when he led Toms River East to the Little League World Series title. He led Toms River South High School to two consecutive Group 3 titles in 2002 and 2003 before starring at Rutgers and winning Big East Player of the Year in 2007. He’s enjoyed a successful MLB career and owns 218 home runs and 639 RBI for his career.

English Gardner

Track and field, United States

The 2010 Eastern Regional graduate is heading to her second Olympics after being selected to the 4×100 relay pool after placing sixth in the 100-meter dash trials.

Philadelphia born and an Oregon alumna, Gardner was part of the gold-medal winning 4×100 relay at the 2016 games and placed seventh in the 100. She’s won two World Championship silvers with the relay as well (2013, 2015). Gardner is a two-time NCAA champion in the 100 (2012, 2013) and two-time winner at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (2013, 2016).

Alen Hadzic

Fencing, United States

A Paterson native, Hadzic was a two-time NJSIAA champion and three-time district champion at Montclair before heading to Columbia University. Hadzic was the runner-up at the 2013 NCAA Championships in men’s epee and earned first team All-American honors.

Hadzic won the men’s epee competition at the North American Cup in May to qualify as the replacement athlete for the men’s epee Olympic team. As a replacement athlete, Hadzic trains with the team and travels to the Olympics but only competes if a team member suffers an injury or is unable to compete.

Mohamed Hamza

Fencing, Egypt

A rising junior at Princeton University, Hamza will represent Egypt in the foil individual and team competitions. He helped Egypt finish seventh in the team event at the 2016 Olympics.

Hamza finished sixth at the 2019 NCAA Championships, and was named second team All-Ivy League.

Tobin Heath

Soccer, United States

The forward will be competing in her fourth Olympics and will be looking to win her third gold medal after winning in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.

Heath, who graduated from Ridge High School in 2006, has won two World Cup titles, in 2015 and 2019, and has won two NWSL championships with the Portland Thorns.

Katharine Holmes

Fencing, United States

A four-time All-American in epee at Princeton University, Holmes finished second, third and seventh at four NCAA Championships appearances. She helped the United States finish fifth in team epee at the 2016 Olympics, and advanced to the round of 32 individually.

Ashleigh Johnson

Water polo, United States

Johnson was the first Princeton University women’s water polo player to be named first team All-America, and third to be selected in each of her four seasons. The Tigers’ goalie finished her college career with a 100-17 record, along with a school-record 1,362 saves and a .693 save percentage.

A member of the 2016 gold-medal American Olympic team, Johnson grew up in Miami.

Patrick Kivlehan

Baseball, United States

Kivlehan, a West Nyack, N.Y. native and former St. Joseph football and baseball standout, is an outfielder on the United States baseball team. The former Rutgers star played in 43 football games in four years as a safety for the Scarlet Knights and only one season on the baseball team. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.

Kivlehan, 31, has played in the majors with the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s currently with the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

Alexia Lacatena

Softball, Italy

Lacatena, a recent graduate of Lenape Valley who has signed a National Letter of Intent with Kentucky, will pitch for the Italian national softball team.

Though Lacatena grew up in Byram and doesn’t speak Italian, she was eligible to play for Italy through her parents, Maria and Dominic. She followed her eldest sister, Maria, onto the national team.

Carli Lloyd

Soccer, United States

The 2001 Delran grad is going to her fourth consecutive Olympic Games and is hoping to win her third gold medal as a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team (2008, 2012).

A Rutgers alumna who set school records for career points (117) and goals (50), Lloyd is one of the most decorated players in U.S. history. She’s received numerous honors including U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year (2008), FIFA World Player of the Year (2015), CONCACAF Women’s Player of the Year (2015), IFFHS World’s Best Woman Playmaker (2015) and IFFHS CONCACAF Best Woman Player of the Decade (2011-2020).

She’s been a part of two World Cup winning teams (2015, 2019), and in 2015 she won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. On June 14, at 38 years and 332 days old, she became the oldest goal scorer in USWNT history during a 4-0 win over Jamaica.

Sam Mattis

Track and field, United States

The East Brunswick High School graduate reigning U.S. champion and earned his spot on the Olympic team after finishing third in the discus at the USA Track & Field trials with a distance of 205-1.

The three-time NJSIAA Meet of Champions winner still holds the meet record in discus with a distance of 218-4, set in 2012.

Sydney McLaughlin

Track and field, United States

The Dunellen native and Union Catholic graduate is headed to her second Olympics after qualifying for the 400-meter hurdles in a world-record 51.9 seconds. McLaughlin broke the old record of 52.16 previously set by Dalilah Muhammad, who finished second (52.42).

McLaughlin won the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships. She was youngest athlete to qualify for the U.S. track and field team four years ago, finishing third at the USATF Trials at age 16.

Nick Mead

Rowing, United States

Mead helped Princeton University win three medals at the IRA Championships, including 2V silver in 2014 and two bronze in the varsity eight in 2017. He will be part of US Rowing’s men’s eight.

Athing Mu

Track and field, United States

Mu, 19, has competed for Trenton Track Club since age 6, but did not run at Trenton Central High School. At the USA Track & Field trials, she won the 800 meters in 1:56.07, fastest in the world this year and second-fastest by an American all-time. She broke the Olympic Trials record, as well as her own American under-20 record.

Mu, who turned pro after her freshman season at Texas A&M, set NCAA records in the  indoor 600 (1:25.8) and 800 (1:58.4), and outdoor 400 (49.57) and 800 (1:57.73), and anchored the record-setting 4×400 indoors and outdoors. She is a four-time first-team All-American, and captured the NCAA outdoor 400 meter title, and was part of the Aggies’ winning 4×400 indoors and outdoors.

Keturah Orji

Track and field, United States

Keturah Orji qualified for her second straight Olympics by winning the triple jump at the USA Track & Field trials. Orji, a 25-year-old Mount Olive and University of Georgia alumna, broke the meet record by soaring 47 feet, 7¾ inches (14.52 meters) on her final attempt. The record (47-5) had been set in 2004.

Orji is trying to become the first American woman to win a triple jump medal at the Olympics. She was fourth in 2016, the first American woman to reach the final since 1996.

She is the first woman to win four NCAA Division I triple jump titles, and the first field-event specialist to earn the prestigious Bowerman trophy.

Tommy Paul

Tennis, United States

Paul was born in Voorhees Twp., but grew up in Greenville, North Carolina, where he began playing tennis at age 5. He played his first International Tennis Federation tournament in October 2010.

Paul won the 2015 French Open boys’ singles title by defeating fellow American Taylor Fritz. He also reached the final at the 2015 U.S. Open boys’ singles, losing to Fritz.

He turned pro in 2015, and is currently ranked No. 50. Paul lives in Delray Beach, Fla.

Doug Payne

Equestrian, United States

Payne will compete in eventing with Starr Witness. He won the team gold medal at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and finished fourth individually.

Born in Morristown, Payne got involved with the United States Pony Club at age 7. He graduated from Voorhees High School, and competed on Rochester Institute of Technology’s alpine skiing team.

Payne, his wife Jessica, and their children live in Aiken, South Carolina.

Morgan Pearson

Triathlon, United States

A swimmer at Berkeley Aquatic Club and distance runner at Delbarton while growing up in the New Vernon section of Harding, Pearson became a seven-time All-American at the University of Colorado. He transitioned to USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program, which identifies top NCAA swimmers and runners who have the potential to excel as triathletes.

The USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National champion in 2017, Pearson qualified for the Olympics by earning bronze at the World Triathlon Championship Series May 15 in Yokohama, Japan. He also earned silver in Leeds on June 6, becoming the first American man to win multiple WTS medals.

Elizaveta Pletneva

Rhythmic gymnastics, United States

Pletevna, 19, will represent the United States in the group competition. Born in Russia, Pletneva lived in Caldwell early in her life. She currently lives in Wheeling, Illinois, and competes at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center. She finished first in the all-around at the 2021 USA Gymnastics Championships in St. Louis.

Julia Ratcliffe

Track and field, New Zealand

Ratcliffe, a Princeton University graduate (2017) Ratcliffe broke the Oceania and national hammer throw records , throwing 241-3 (73.55 meters) at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships. The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Ratcliffe was the 2014 NCAA hammer champion and a four-time All-America honoree at Princeton.

Molly Reckford


Molly Reckford and her rowing partner Michelle Sechser won all three of their races at the final Olympic qualification regatta in mid May in Lucerne, Switzerland, making Team USA in the lightweight women’s double sculls. Reckford grew up in Short Hills, but competed for Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire and then Dartmouth. Reckford’s late grandfather, Bill Spencer, was a two-time Olympic biathlete and long-time coach.

Francesca Russo

Fencing, United States

Russo graduated from Wayne Valley in 2014 as a four-time NJSIAA champion who compiled a career record of 96-4. She also helped the Bergen Fencing Club win a world championship in Croatia, and was a 2013 junior world team champion.

At Notre Dame, she was a two-time national women’s sabre champion (2015, 2017) and led the Fighting Irish to a pair of NCAA team championships. Russo, who now coaches at Wayne Valley, told Wayne Magazine of her Olympic dreams in 2017.

Hannah Scott

Rowing, Great Britain

A recent Princeton University graduate, Scott will represent Great Britain in the heavyweight four. She is a two-time Ivy League champion and 2019 All-American, helping the Tigers to two top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

Kailen Sheridan

Soccer, Canada

The goalkeeper for Hanover-based Gotham FC, Sheridan will suit up for Canada in Toyko. Sheridan, 25, grew up in Whitby, Ontario, and was selected 23rd by Gotham FC (then Sky Blue) in the 2017 draft out of Clemson. She has allowed two goals and posted three shutouts in five matches this season.

Sheridan will play alongside her Gotham teammate, striker Evelyne Viens. Sheridan was an alternate on the 2016 Olympic team.

Equestrian, United States

The daughter of New Jersey rock and roll legends Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, Jessica Springsteen has made her second Olympic team in show jumping. She was an alternate rider in 2012 but did not make the cut in 2016. A Ranney alum and Colts Neck native, Springsteen is currently ranked No. 3 nationally and 27th worldwide.

Earlier this month, Springsteen told the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey, “Being a part of this team is something I’ve dreamed of since I was little, and to do so alongside riders that I’ve admired and been inspired by for years makes it even more special. I am thankful for the continued support of my team, friends and family, and hope to make everyone proud this summer.”

Eliza Stone

Fencing, United States

The first four-time All-American sabre at Princeton University, Stone won individual and team NCAA titles in 2013. Stone has been a volunteer assistant coach since graduating in 2013.

Gevvie Stone

Rowing, United States

Princeton University alumna (2007) Gevvie Stone will row for the United States at her third Olympics. Stone and Kristina Wagner qualified in the women’s double sculls, winning their heat by almost four seconds.

Stone, who grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, was part of Princeton’s undefeated varsity eight in 2006. She won silver in the single sculls at the 2016 Olympics, and was seventh in 2012.

Curtis Thompson

Javelin, United States

A 2014 Florence grad, Thompson is heading to the Olympics for the first time.

Born in Trenton, Thompson was a four-time first team All-American javelin thrower at Mississippi State. He won the 2016 NCAA championship and the 2018 USATF title. He finished first at the Olympic Trials with a throw of 271 feet, 7 inches (82.78 meters). His winning throw was 11 feet, 7 inches, farther than his competitor, which is a record for largest margin of victory.

Khalil Thompson

Fencing, United States

Thompson has been fencing since age 9 alongside sister Kamali, who narrowly missed an Olympic spot herself. The Teaneck native competed in sabre and went on to compete at Penn State for a year before returning to New Jersey. Thompson, 24, is currently fencing and working towards a degree in communications and media studies at NJIT.

Thompson has been a strong advocate for mental health and speaks openly about depression that nearly had him quit fencing five years ago. Thompson was emotional after winning the North American Cup in May to qualify for the sabre team and reach the Olympics for the first time.

Ed Trippas

Steeplechase, Australia

A Princeton University senior, Trippas qualified for the Australian Olympic team with a personal best of 8:19.6 in the stepplechase while competing in Spain. He is the fourth man from Oceania to break 8:20, and is ranked third on Australia’s all-time list.

Trippas’ time is the 10th fastest by a NCAA student-athlete. The Tigers’ men’s cross country captain in the fall, Trippas was the Ivy League steeplechase champion and earned honorable mention All-America honors in 2019.

Anna Van Brummen

Fencing, United States

The first Princeton University woman to win a NCAA epee championship, Van Brummen is a replacement athlete for the team competition. Van Brummen, who grew up in Houston, was a four-time first-team All-Ivy League honoree.

Evelyne Viens

Soccer, Canada

A striker for Hanover-based Gotham FC, Viens will represent her native Canada at the Olympics. She has two goals in seven international appearances.

A bilingual Quebec native, Viens was drafted fifth overall out of the University of South Florida in the 2020 draft. She led USF in goals and points for four years, breaking the American Athletic Conference records for all-time goals (73), goals per game (0.95), points (169), points per game (2.19), shots (360) and shots per game (4.68).

Fred Vystavel

Rowing, Denmark

Vystavel and Joachim Sutton, the coxless pair from Denmark, finished second to the Netherlands at the Olympic Qualifying Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. Vystavel, a 2016 Princeton University graduate, is the school’s first heavyweight Olympic qualifier.

Ajeé Wilson

Track and field, United States

The Neptune native is on her way to her second Olympics in the 800 meters.

Wilson is a two-time bronze medalist at the World Championships and advanced to the semifinals at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Her personal best of 1:55.61 in the 800 is an American record.

Rudy Winkler

Track and field, United States

Winkler broke the American record in the hammer throw (271-4) to defend his title at the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials. He finished 18th in Rio in 2016.

The 2017 NCAA hammer champion and 2016 runner-up while at Cornell University, Winkler competed for Rutgers in the spring of 2018 while earning a master’s degree in business and cybersecurity. He is a volunteer assistant with the Scarlet Knights’ women’s track and field program.

Dagmara Wozniak

Fencing, United States

Wozniak, who was born in Poland, graduated from Colonia High School in 2006. She was named to the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 as a substitute and then as a competitor in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

She finished eighth in 2012 and won the bronze in 2016. She won a gold medal with Team USA in 2014 and is currently ranked as one of the top 10 sabre fencers in the world.

Staff writers Robert Aitken, Josh Friedman, Nick Gantaifis, Lauren Knego, Danny LoGiudice, Greg Mattura and Greg Tartaglia contributed to this report. 

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This post originally posted here usnews

Roster: Three-quarters of US Olympians have college ties

Because the U.S. Olympic team does not receive government funding, it looks to universities as a major training ground and pipeline for talent.

WASHINGTON — Three-quarters of the 613-person U.S. Olympic team that was released Tuesday competed in the American collegiate system — the most up-to-date number to illustrate the country’s dependence on NCAA and other college programs to bring home medals.

The roster released by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for the Tokyo Games includes 329 women and 284 men, making this the third straight Summer Games in which the U.S. is sending more women than men to the Olympics.

Gymnast Simone Biles, who is a top contender for multiple gold medals, is making her second Olympic appearance. She is one of 31 athletes from Texas. California leads the way with 126, followed by Florida (51) and Colorado (34), which houses the Olympic Training Center and also is a high-altitude training site for some in endurance sports.

No single statistic, however, defines the United States’ unique situation in the Olympic world better than the number of college athletes who go on to wear the red, white and blue. Because the U.S. Olympic team does not receive government funding, it looks to universities as a major training ground and pipeline for talent.

Some recent cutbacks in college sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other financial strains were reversed, which gave the U.S. some breathing room in its long-term quest to develop new pipelines for future Games.

At these Olympics, 463 U.S. athletes (76%) competed at 169 schools spanning Divisions I, II and III, as well as at junior colleges and collegiate club programs. Twenty of the U.S. rosters in individual sports are made up of at least 80% of athletes who played in college and 11 teams are composed solely of them; those include men’s and women’s indoor volleyball, rowing and softball.

Some other facts and figures:

  • Swimmer Katie Grimes is the youngest U.S. Olympian at 15, while equestrian Phillip Dutton is the oldest at 57. Dutton is making his seventh Olympic appearance, which included three for Australia.
  • The 2020 team has 193 returning Olympians and 104 Olympic medalists, including 56 Olympic champions.
  • This year’s team is almost 10% bigger than the one that went to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. That was a 558-person roster.

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Breastfeeding Olympians allowed to bring babies to Tokyo

The move comes after a Canadian basketball player made a plea last week to challenge a “no families, no exceptions” rule for the Tokyo Games.

TORONTO, ON — Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher, who is breastfeeding her infant daughter, has won in her quest to bring the baby to the Tokyo Olympics, which she called “the right decision for women in sports.”

The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that nursing mothers will now be allowed to bring their babies to Tokyo. The move comes after Gaucher made an emotional plea via Instagram to have 3-month-old Sophie travel with her to the Games.

Gaucher, a 37-year-old from Mission, British Columbia, said the IOC was forcing her to make a tough choice: skip the Olympics or spend 28 days in Tokyo without her daughter.

“We very much welcome the fact that so many mothers are able to continue to compete at the highest level, including at the Olympic Games,” the IOC said in a statement. “We are very pleased to hear that the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has found a special solution regarding the entry to Japan for mothers who are breastfeeding and their young children.”

Gaucher said she heard the news from her husband Wednesday morning as she was at training camp in Florida.

“I’m incredibly happy and very thankful for all the people who fought for this and helped out with this,” she said. “There can be moments of frustration, but I think women’s sports is evolving and sometimes it takes a little bit of time for everyone to get on the same page. I’m happy that this decision has been made. The right decision for women in sports and we can move forward.”

The IOC had stipulated that no family could travel to Tokyo due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Gaucher pointed out that international media and sponsors may travel to Tokyo and a capped number of Japanese spectators will be allowed in venues.

“Japanese fans are going to be in attendance, the arenas are going to be half full, but I will not have access to my daughter?” Gaucher said in her video. “We’ve tried appeals. Everyone says they’re on board, but nobody can do anything. Let’s see if we can make a difference. It’s 2021. Let’s make working moms normal.”

The new policy affects other athletes who have qualified for Tokyo, including U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan, whose daughter, Charlie, was born in May 2020 and has been able to accompany her mother on the road.

Morgan told reporters in April that it was important “to allow mothers the option to have their kids with them while they compete. . . if a child is under 1 or 2, they might still be breastfeeding, so that’s a huge piece of it.”

Gaucher and Morgan will both be competing in their third Olympics in Tokyo.

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Author: Associated Press
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

IOC and China make vaccine deal for Tokyo, Beijing Olympians

IOC president Thomas Bach says the offer for collaboration “is in the true Olympic spirit of solidarity.”

TOKYO, Japan — The International Olympic Committee and China have teamed up to offer vaccines to athletes and teams preparing for the upcoming games in both Tokyo and Beijing.

The collaboration with Chinese Olympic officials was announced Thursday during an online IOC meeting.
“We are grateful for this offer, which is in the true Olympic spirit of solidarity,” IOC president Thomas Bach said.
Bach said the IOC would “pay for extra doses” for Olympic and Paralympic participants.
Japan’s vaccination rollout has been relatively slow despite the upcoming Tokyo Games. It was launched in February, months after other major countries.
The Tokyo Olympics are set to open on July 23, and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing are scheduled for February.
Heading off concerns that athletes might jump the line to get vaccinated, Bach said extra doses for the general public will be given to countries taking part in the program.
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“The IOC will pay for two doses more, which can be made available for the population in the respective country according to their needs,” Bach said.
Distribution will be through international agencies or existing vaccine agreements countries have with China, Bach said.
China, where the COVID-19 outbreak emerged in late 2019, has actively engaged in vaccine diplomacy, using doses developed by Sinovac and Sinopharm.
Research by The Associated Press this month showed China has pledged about a half billion doses of its vaccines to more than 45 countries.
Bach said the agreement with China would help fulfil promises to Olympic organizers and competitors that the games will be staged safely.
He said the project was “our demonstration of solidarity with the Japanese people for whom we have such high respect and whom we hold in such high regard.”