The postponed 2020 Olympics will be cancelled altogether if coronavirus is not brought under control by next year, the Games’ chief has warned. The pandemic has already forced a year-long delay of Tokyo 2020, which will now start on July 23 next year. Games president Yoshiro Mori has said any further postponement is simply impossible. Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said that the Olympic Games, already postponed to 2021, would be “scrapped” if it could not take place then, according to an interview published on Tuesday. With the epidemic’s worldwide infection rate climbing and experts suggesting a vaccine is still a long way off, questions are being asked about whether a further delay might be needed.
“No. In that case, the Olympics will be scrapped,” Mori said in the interview with Japanese sports daily Nikkan Sports, when asked if the Games could be postponed again until 2022.
Asked by a Japanese newspaper if postponing the Games – worth £10billion – another year could be done, Mori replied: “No. In that case it is cancelled.”
The Tokyo Olympic Chief said “mankind is betting” on Covid-19 being under control by then, and said if it is then “we’ll hold the Olympics in peace next summer”. The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government last month postponed the Games until July 2021 because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Organisers and Japanese officials have said the delayed Olympics will be a chance to showcase the world’s triumph over the coronavirus, but questions have arisen about whether even a year’s postponement is sufficient.
On Tuesday, the head of Japan Medical Association warned it would be “exceedingly difficult” to hold the Games next year if a vaccine had not been found.
“I would not say that they should not be held, but it would be exceedingly difficult,” Yoshitake Yokokura told reporters at a briefing.
And last week a Japanese medical expert who has criticised the country’s response to the coronavirus warned that he was “very pessimistic” that the postponed Olympics can be held in 2021.