Rescheduled Tokyo Games may come before summer 2021: Bach


Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) attends an interview after the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ATHENS (Reuters) – The head of the global Olympic movement said on Wednesday that the rescheduled Tokyo Games faced “thousands” of logistical and financial problems and could go ahead before summer 2021.

Though most people have assumed the Games will be held around roughly the same July-August timetable as they were planned for this year, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said earlier dates in 2021 were possible.

“The agreement is that we want to organize these Games at the latest in the summer 2021,” he told a conference call.

“This is not restricted just to the summer months. All the options are on the table including the summer 2021.”

The IOC agreed with Japan on Tuesday to the first postponement in the Olympics’ 124-year history due to risks from the coronavirus impact. It was the last major international sporting event of 2020 to be canceled, with many questioning why a seemingly inevitable decision took so long to make.

Athletes were sad but largely relieved, given disruption to their training. The decision was a huge blow to Japan, which has invested $12 billion in the run-up, and presents a massive headache to reorganize logistics, funding and sponsorship.

Bach said he could not guarantee all elements of the Games would remain as initially planned. He said he did not know what would happen with the athletes’ village, where apartments were set to be sold after the Games this year.

“This is one of the many thousands of questions this task force will have to address. We hope and we will do whatever we can so that there is an Olympic village, the village is where the heart of the Games beat,” he said.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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