The Tokyo Olympics will continue next year, even if the coronavirus still roams the world. This is the firm belief of John Coates, Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and also head of the Tokyo Games Coordination Committee.
“The Games continue, with or without Covid. They will start on 23 July next year”, said Coates in a telephone interview with the French press agency AFP. In May, the 70 year old Australian still had a gloomy outlook. Coates said: “We really have a problem, because there are athletes from 206 countries coming to the Games. We have to assume that there will be no vaccine by then. Or at least not enough to share with the whole world”.
Now Coates is much more positive. “The Japanese see it as the Games of Reconstruction, after the devastating tsunami in 2011. It will now also be very much the Games that defeated the coronavirus, the light at the end of the tunnel,” said the Australian. It is still unclear what the global sporting event will look like. The Japanese hope to be able to welcome fans as well as athletes, but there is also a chance that the Games will be without an audience. Japan imposes strict requirements on foreigners who want to enter the country.