IOC president Thomas Bach remains optimistic about Tokyo Olympics as organizers secure venues, finalize schedule
Tokyo 2020 organizers confirmed Friday that they have overcome a significant logistical hurdle related to the postponement of the Games, securing the use of all 43 competition venues and the Olympic Village for the rescheduled Summer Olympics next year.
In a report delivered to International Olympic Committee members at a virtual meeting Friday, organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori and CEO Toshiro Muto also confirmed that the competition schedule for next year's Olympics will be largely unchanged. The opening ceremony is slated for July 23, 2021.
IOC president Thomas Bach continues to express optimism that the Tokyo Olympics will be held next summer, even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
"It's an opportunity — and a huge opportunity — for Japan, and for the entire Olympic movement, to have these Games next year in Tokyo," Bach said in a news conference with reporters after the meeting. "If everything is going in the right way, these Olympic Games will be the first worldwide gathering after the coronavirus."
Bach has said that the IOC and local organizers are taking steps to simplify next summer's Games in the wake of COVID-19 but offered few specifics.
He also reiterated Friday that organizers are preparing for multiple scenarios depending on the state of the pandemic next summer, and acknowledged that one such scenario would involve holding the Olympics without fans — though that is "not what we want," he added.
When asked Friday to detail some of the other COVID-19 countermeasures that are being considered, Bach demurred.
"In many countries, you don't even know what requirements you have tomorrow when you leave your house, or whether you can leave your house," he said. "So how can you know in detail about maybe the most complex, the most complex event to organize, in the world?
"There cannot be a solution today. This is too much expected, I'm afraid."
Muto said the organizing committee will begin "full-scale planning for COVID-19 countermeasures" in the fall, and also have a better sense of the additional costs that will be incurred at that point.
The IOC and Japan announced in March that they would be postponing the Games for one year due to COVID-19. Both the IOC and local organizers have since indicated that the Tokyo Olympics will be canceled, rather than postponed a second time, if they cannot be held as scheduled next summer.
The IOC announced earlier this week that it would postpone the 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics in Senegal to 2026.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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