On Thursday night, a report surfaced that the 2021 Summer Olympics could be in grave danger of being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The games were already postponed from last summer amid the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, according to CBS, Japan denied the report from Thursday regarding the status of the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee also denied the games being canceled.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike issued a statement to CBS.
“Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike issued a firm denial, however, of the Times story on Friday, insisting there was no talk among Japanese officials of cancelling the Games,” CBS’ Ramy Inocencio wrote. “The International Olympic Committee also shot back, pointing to a Japanese government statement calling the Times report ‘categorically untrue,’ and insisting that both Tokyo organizers and the IOC remained ‘fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery’ of the Games in 2021.”
According to a report from The Times, a UK outlet, Japanese government officials said they are already thinking ahead to the next time they can host the games. It appears like a grim outlook for 2021.
“The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus, and the focus is now on securing the Games for the city in the next available year, 2032,” Richard Lloyd Parry wrote. “According to a senior member of the ruling coalition, there is agreement that the Games, already postponed a year, are doomed. The aim now is to find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation that leaves open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date. ‘No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,’ the source said. ‘Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.’”
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement in response to the report.
“USOPC statement on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020: ‘Any official communication on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will come from the IOC, Tokyo Organizing Committee and the Japanese government. We have not received any information suggesting the Games will not happen as planned, and our focus remains on the health and preparedness of Team USA athletes ahead of the Games this summer.’”
IOC member Dick Pound spoke with USA Today about the decision to delay the Olympic games last year. Originally, the games were slated to start on July 24, 2020.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in a phone interview with USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
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