Officials for the International Olympic Committee are working to quiet concerns over a potential cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Games — which were rescheduled from last year, but retain the 2020 name — according to the New York Times. Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, went on Kyodo News in Japan to calm things down as coronavirus cases surge in Japan, along with the rest of the world.
“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,” Bach said. “This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful.”
He added that the 2022 Winter Olympics would also be held on time in Beijing, China. In addition to the rising COVID cases — which had Japanese officials bracing for a postponement — part of what sparked the response was a comment from a longtime IOC board member that expressed concern over whether the games would go off as planned.
“I can’t be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus,” said Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the IOC.
That comment was made in response to Tokyo declaring a state of emergency due to a resurgence of cases. After Bach made his statement on Thursday, British publication The Times reported that the Japanese government privately concluded that the games would have to be cancelled, though no other reporting has confirmed that notion as of this posting.
The rescheduled Games are set to take place between July 23 and Aug. 8.