International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates said that the rescheduled Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo will go ahead in 2021 regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, calling them the “Games that conquered COVID.”
“It will take place with or without COVID. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” said Coates, who heads the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games. “The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,” referring to a 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. “Now very much these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
2020 Olympic Summer Games CEO Toshiro Muro said earlier that a COVID-19 vaccine is not a requirement to host the rescheduled games and that the organizers would like to have the Games with spectators on hand. Japan’s borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors, which fuels speculation about whether the Games are feasible.
“Their job now is to look at all the different counter-measures that will be required for the Games to take place,” said Coates of the organizers. “Some countries will have it (COVID-19) under control, some won’t. We’ll have athletes therefore coming from places where it’s under control and some where it is not. There’s 206 teams… so there’s a massive task being undertaken on the Japanese side.”