Postponed from this year to next year, the Tokyo Olympics will happen as planned, vowed John Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee. Japan is determined to have the games take place as planned, despite the enormous efforts in terms of postponing them.
The Tokyo Olympic Games Will Happen Next Year, says IOC VP John Coates
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed from this year to next year will go ahead as planned regardless of the COVID-19 environment. This is what John Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told AFP on Monday. Despite the original plan for the Tokyo Olympics to take place this year, the Games were pushed to 2021. “It will take place with or without COVID. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” vowed Coates.
Initially, the Tokyo Olympics’ theme was set to be “the Reconstruction Games“, added Coates referring to the devastation by tsunami in Japan back in 2011. He added that currently, the focus has shifted. “Now very much these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Coates.
Here, we cannot miss saying that this is the first time the Olympic Games have been postponed in peaceful times. With that in mind, global traveling continues to be disrupted and a big part of Japan’s borders are yet to reopen for foreign visitors. Despite the reassuring comment by Coates, it is currently unknown if another postponement may be offered or even a cancellation.
According to Coates, Japan is focused on completing the Tokyo Olympics. But so far, the Games proved to be a “monumental task” considering the postponement with one year. He also outlined what the IOC President Thomas Bach has said before the COVID-19 period: “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“.
Postponing the Olympics with One Year Is a Difficult Task
But Coates added that the postponement proved to be a difficult task, considering the re-securing of all venues and some 43 hotel contracts that had to be negotiated for a year later. “Sponsorships had to be extended a year, broadcast rights,” added the IOC vice-president.
Given the enormous efforts to complete the Tokyo Olympics a year later, a task force was created. The task force met for the first time last week and it consists of both IOC officials and Japanese officials. Their main goal will be to try and predict different scenarios surrounding the Games in 2021.
“Their job now is to look at all the different counter-measures that will be required for the Games to take place,” said Coates. He outlined that some 206 teams will be coming from different countries around the globe. Some of the countries have COVID-19 under control, while others don’t. In conclusion, Coates said that all those preparations and precautions are just a massive task, undertaken on the Japanese side.
To make the Tokyo Olympics happen by now Japan has invested billions of dollars. And according to Coates, the postponement is only adding more money to the bill. He outlined that some $800 million will be spent towards supporting international federations and National Olympic Committees who aren’t receiving their income this year.