The Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in 2021 ‘with or without Covid,’ the International Olympic Committee vice-president has said.
The Olympics has never been cancelled outside of the world wars and John Coates vowed that the competition in Japan would be the ‘Games that conquered Covid’.
‘It will take place with or without Covid. The Games will start on 23 July next year,’ said Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Games.
‘The Games were going to be the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,’ he said, referring to a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan in 2011.
‘Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.’
In a landmark decision, the 2020 Olympics was postponed because of the global march of the pandemic. The Games are now set to open on 23 July 2021.
‘Before Covid, [IOC president] Thomas Bach 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 said.
‘Now it’s been postponed by one year, that’s presented a monumental task in terms of resecuring all the venues … something like 43 hotels we had to get out of those contracts and renegotiate for a year later.
‘Sponsorships had to be extended a year, broadcast rights.’