- Japanese officials say there will be no more delays in the Olympics
- IOC and Japanese officials met for the first time last week
- Vice President of IOC said Olympics will be held regardless of COVID-19 situation
Vice President of IOC (International Olympic Committee) John Coates, on Monday, said that the postponed Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in the year 2021 regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic. Talking to AFP, he also said that they would be the “Games that conquered COVID”.
The Olympics have never been cancelled other than due to the World Wars and Coates, participating in a telephonic interview, was adamant that the Tokyo Games will start on the revised date.
Coates said, “It will take place with or without COVID. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” who heads the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games.
Coates added, “The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” referring to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan of 2011.
“Now very much these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
In an unprecedented decision, the 2020 Olympics were postponed due to the global pandemic COVID-19 and are not set to begin from the 23rd of July, 2021.
Japan has not opened its borders for the foreign visitors and a possible vaccine could be months or even years away which has built speculations about whether the Olympics are even feasible to be played.
The Japanese officials have made clear that they would not delay the Games for the second time, beyond 2021.
However, a recent poll found that only one in four people in Japan want to go ahead next year and hold the Olympics, with most backing either another postponement or a complete cancellation.
Coates said that the Japanese Government “haven’t dropped the baton at all” following the postponement, despite the “monumental task” of putting the event back a year later.
Coates said, “Before COVID, Thomas Bach (IOC president) said this is the best prepared Games we’ve ever seen, the venues were almost all finished, they are now finished, the village is amazing, all the transport arrangements, everything is fine,”.
Coates added, “Now it’s been postponed by one year, that’s presented a monumental task in terms of re-securing all the venues… something like 43 hotels we had to get out of those contracts and re-negotiate for a year later.
“Sponsorships had to be extended a year, broadcast rights.”
Much of the work for the Olympics has either been completed or have been started, a task force has been established to look at the different scenarios in 2021 including how the border controls will impact the movement of athletes as well as the officials, to whether fans can pack venues.
The group which comprises of both IOC and Japanese officials met for the first time last week.
Coates who is also the President of the Australian Olympics Committee said, “Their job now is to look at all the different counter-measures that will be required for the Games to take place,”.
“Some countries will have it (COVID019) under control, some won’t. We’ll have athletes, therefore, coming from places where it’s under control and somewhere it is not.
“There are 206 teams… so there’s a massive task being undertaken on the Japanese side.”