The International Olympic Committee wants the world to get something clear: It is not postponing the Olympic Games again. In fact, as uneasy as that sounds at the moment given that more than 27 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, the IOC has said that the games will be held “without or without covid.”
According to AFP and Deadline, IOC vice president John Coates said Monday that the Olympic Games would start on July 23 in Tokyo, Japan next year. Coates specifically addressed the ongoing pandemic that we’re living in, but only to say that the sporting event would be called the “Games that conquered covid.”
“It will take place with or without Covid. The games will start July 23 next year,” Coates said.
Considering that a) we don’t have a vaccine against covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and b) even when we do have one, things won’t go back to “normal” right away, it’s hard to believe that these will be the games that “conquered covid.”
This doesn’t mean that I don’t think the IOC could maybe pull off holding the Olympic Games next year. After all, look at the NBA in its more than $150 million bubble, with its daily covid-19 tests, meals, security, transportation and thorough sanitation. However, the games would need to be carried out carefully and with caution, and there’s no guarantee peoples’ health would not be at risk.
The IOC and Japan announced that the 2020 Olympic Games were postponed in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. The games had never been postponed before in the event’s history. Until this year, they had only been canceled due to world wars.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the time.
Per AFP, Coates stated that Japan had not given up on hosting the games despite the monumental task ahead. He added that before covid, the IOC maintained that the Tokyo Games were the most prepared it had ever seen.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are set to run until Aug. 8, 2021.