After postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021, it appears the pandemic may ultimately force the cancelation of the Summer Games entirely.
According to a report out of Tokyo from Richard Lloyd Parry of The Times, the Japanese government has “privately concluded” that the Olympics will “have to be canceled.” The report states that the focus for Japan is now on getting the next available Olympics, in 2032.
“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” a source reportedly told The Times.
Tokyo 2020 was officially postponed in March of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was rescheduled to July 23 to August 8, 2021.
The former chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics told the BBC recently that it is “unlikely” that the Tokyo Games will take place and that organizers should be “making plans for a cancellation.”
It appears only a faster-than-expected rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine could save the Olympics now, as there has been a surge in cases in the Japanese capital. Tokyo reported 1,471 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with the daily count exceeding 1,000 for the ninth straight day.
Nationwide, on Wednesday Japan reported 5,532 new cases and 92 deaths from the virus.
Canadian Olympic Committee CEO and Secretary General David Shoemaker issued a statement on Twitter Thursday evening, saying he is “unaware of any decision” being made by the Japanese government.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee has confidence that the Games can be staged safely and successfully given what has been learned in sport over the last several months and the emphasis the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee have placed on COVID-19 countermeasures,” Shoemaker said.
“We continue in our preparation to participate at Tokyo 2020 with a focus on the health and safety of our athletes, their families, and their communities.”