Officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organizing Committee (TOC) have said the postponed Olympic Games will go ahead no matter what next summer, as reported by the CBC and Reuters. IOC vice president John Coates said definitively on Monday that the Games will be held as planned, and his words were echoed by Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto at a press conference on Tuesday. The rescheduled Games are set to begin on July 23, 2021 and run until August 8.
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) September 8, 2020
After moving the Games from this summer to next, the IOC has already said the they will not be postponed again, making next year’s start date the only shot organizers have at holding the event. Cancellation is, of course, not a route either the IOC nor the TOC want to take. Coates’s words indicate that this is not even being considered as a legitimate option, and he said the Games will go ahead “with or without COVID,” adding that Tokyo 2021 “will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
A day after Coates’s declaration, Hashimoto said Tokyo 2021 should be held for the thousands of athletes who continue to work tirelessly toward realizing their Olympic dreams. “Everyone involved with the Games is working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts toward next year,” Hashimoto said. “I think we have to hold the Games at any cost.”
She said she wants to “concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus” in preparation for next summer. A team comprised of members of the TOC and Japanese and Tokyo governments recently began working together to develop health and safety measures for the Games, and they are reportedly considering more than 200 proposals on how to deal with COVID-19 with regards to incoming athletes from around the world, the Athletes’ Village, spectators and more.