THE postponed Tokyo Olympics could be held in the spring of 2021, International Olympics Committee president Thomas Bach has indicated.
The IOC and Japanese organisers announced yesterday that the Games were being delayed until next year because of the worsening effect of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe.
Bach (pictured), who said Japan remained ‘very confident’ in its ability to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer right up until last weekend, indicated that a task force would now look at all options in 2021 for rescheduling.
‘The agreement is that we want to organise this Olympic Games at the latest in the summer of 2021. That means that this task force can consider the broader picture,’ he said.
‘This is not just restricted to the summer months. All the options are on the table before and including the summer 2021.’
British hurdler Dai Greene immediately criticised the possibility of a ‘cherry blossom’ Olympics, writing on Twitter: ‘When do we get the chance to compete and qualify for a spring Games? This summer will be sparse at best. Someone have a word.’
Bach said he hoped the task force, which has been called Here We Go, would be able to announce a decision on a new date for the Games as soon as possible, but that the ‘quality’ of the decision was the key thing.
Here We Go will hold a conference call with the 33 international Olympic sports federations tomorrow to discuss options, Bach said, before further consultations with other bodies such as athletes’ representative groups, sponsors and broadcasters.
Bach took part in a conference call with reporters from around the world today, and was asked whether the IOC would be prepared to further postpone, or even cancel, the Games if the pandemic had not eased by next summer.
‘We have established the principle that we have always been following, and that we will be following in the future — that we will organise a Games only in a safe environment for all the participants,’ the German said.
He said cancellation had been an ‘option on the table’ when discussions around postponements were held over the weekend, but said it was clear ‘from the beginning’ that it was not an option the IOC favoured.
‘Our mission is to organise Olympic Games and to make the Olympic dreams of athletes come true,’ he added.