2021 the Last Chance for Tokyo Olympics

(ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach admits Tokyo 2020 would have to be cancelled if it cannot be held next year.

(ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach admits that Tokyo 2020 would have to be cancelled if it cannot be held in 2021.

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Bach said "you cannot forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 people in an organizing committee. You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty."

His comments came six days after he refused to concede to 300 reporters on a teleconference that 2021 was the last chance to hold the Tokyo Games, saying with 14 months to go "we should not fuel any speculation on any future developments".

Bach’s change of course comes more than three weeks after Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori told Nikkan Sports in late April that the Games could not be postponed a second time because of the pandemic.

Mori’s comment came the same week the president of the Japan Medical Association said "it would be exceedingly difficult" for Tokyo to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2021 without a coronavirus vaccine.

Last week, Bach said it’s "way too early to draw any conclusions" as to potential parameters that might be necessary in order to hold the event.

During the BBC interview, Bach reiterated much of what he had said last week in Lausanne, including that the IOC is focused on holding the Tokyo Games in July 2021 and that the Games would "definitely be different" due to the need to reduce the costs of rescheduling.

The IOC last week announced it has approved $650 million to help cover the additional costs of dealing with the postponement.

Bach did tell the BBC that holding the Games behind closed doors "is not what we want", adding that should such a decision have to be made "I would ask you to give me some more time for consultation with the athletes, with the World Health Organization, with the Japanese partners."

The start of the Games was pushed back by a year on March 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are now scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021 and run until Aug. 8. The Paralympics follow from Aug. 24 until Sept. 5.

Written by Gerard Farek

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