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Will 2020 Tokyo Olympics Be Postponed Because of Covid-19?

WHO's real-time statistics show that as of March 23, 18:00 (Central Time, March 24, 11:00 Beijing time), there were 334,981 confirmed COVID cases and 14,510 deaths worldwide. At present, novel coronavirus cases have appeared in 189 countries and regions around the world.
 

According to the Kyodo News Agency, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold a telephone talk with International Olympic Committee President Bach on the evening of the 24th, and coordination has now begun. The two sides will hold consultations on the extension of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which is scheduled to begin on July 24.


 

On March 23, local time, IOC (International Olympic Committee) member Pound revealed in an interview with USA Today that "the International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and will most likely postpone it to 2021. The details will be worked out within the next four weeks."
 

According to the report, Pound said in a telephone interview: "According to the information provided by the International Olympic Committee, a decision has been made to postpone the Tokyo Olympics. No specific plan for the postponement has been determined, but the Tokyo Olympics will not begin on July 24. That's all I know".


Although Pound has many years of work experience and qualifications at the International Olympic Committee, his remarks have certain credibility. However, Pound's remarks do not represent the position of the International Olympic Committee, so we still need to wait for official confirmation.
 

1. What happened to the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics?

♦ IOC

In the early morning of the 23rd, the IOC Executive Committee issued a statement saying that it would complete the assessment of the epidemic situation in the next four weeks, so as to determine whether the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed.
 

But even within four weeks, the athletes and the National Olympic Committees did not seem to want to wait any longer, so some people took the lead in public and stated that they would not participate in the Tokyo Olympics.


 

♦ Canada

On the morning of March 23, the Canadian Olympic Committee publicly announced that it would not send athletes to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer, and suggested that the Tokyo Olympic Games be postponed.
 

Although the Norwegian Olympic Committee, the Slovenian Olympic Committee, the American Swimming Association, the American Athletics Association have privately written to the International Olympic Committee, or proposed in the media to postpone the Tokyo Olympics, none of them are as aggressive as Canada.
 

♦ Australia

Immediately after, Australian Prime Minister Morrison stated that Australian athletes would not travel to Tokyo if the pandemic was not under control.
 

♦ IAAF

The IAAF(International Association of Athletics Federations) also issued a statement on the official website, stating that if the Tokyo Olympics are postponed, the IAAF is willing to cooperate fully. As the single organization with the most gold medals (48) in the Olympic Games, the IAAF's voice clearly plays a pivotal role.
 

Given that athletes are the protagonists of the Olympic Games, when more and more athletes are unwilling to take risks to participate in the Olympic Games, it is no longer a suspense for the Tokyo Olympic Games to be postponed. The International Olympic Committee and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had previously insisted on "scheduled to hold," also had to relax, suggesting that there might be a delay in holding the event.
 

♦ Japanese government may respect IOC decision

According to Xinhua News Agency, the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee Chairman Yoshiro Mori said on the 23rd that despite the delay of the Tokyo Olympics, he still hopes that the Olympics will be held in 2020.


 

A person in the Japanese government revealed to Kyodo News: On March 23rd, the Japanese government's basic decision will be notified to the International Olympic Committee in the near future. If the International Olympic Committee makes a decision to delay the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Japan will agree.
 

♦ Switzerland

On the 23rd local time, the Swiss National Olympic Committee sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee based in Lausanne, Switzerland, officially requesting the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 

♦ Norway

On March 23 local time, Norwegian Radio and Television reported that the Norwegian Sports Federation's chairman, Berit Kejor, stated that if the Tokyo Olympics were not postponed, Norway would not send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics.
 

♦ UK

On March 23 local time, Hugh Robertson, president of the British Olympic Association, said that if the spread of the coronavirus continues, Britain will not send teams to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. "As things get more complicated, we don't see any way to proceed," he said.
 

2. How long will the Tokyo Olympic Games be postponed? This year or next?

According to Reuters, two people familiar with the matter revealed possible plans for the Tokyo Olympics: 1. Extension of 30 to 45 days; 2. Extension of one to two years. It is reported that the plan will be discussed at the end of March, and the content will also include reducing the size of the Olympic Games and whether it will be held empty.


 

If it is "extended for 30 to 45 days," all preparations for the Tokyo Olympics will continue as usual, but issues such as "reducing the size of the Olympics" and "holding the Olympics without an audience" must be considered. Moreover, it is difficult to get the approval of this extension scheme from various countries. After all, it is very hard to solve any problem in such a short time.
 

If it is "extended for one to two years", then the problems involved are also many: whether the current qualifiers are still running; whether the results of the qualifiers that have ended are still valid; other events also need to be adjusted on the schedule and many more……
 

3. What will be the impact of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games?

At present, the only certainty is that the impact of this global coronavirus pandemic on the Tokyo Olympics will cost the Japanese government heavy losses.
 

Japanese media have reported that the economic promotion effect of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is 32.3 trillion Yen (about 293 billion Dollar), and the Japanese government has invested 170 billion Yen to prepare for the Olympics. Honorary professor Miyamoto Katsuhiro of Kansai University in Japan has calculated that if the Olympics are cancelled, Japan ’s economic loss will reach 4.5 trillion Yen, or approximately 40.7 billion dollars, and the loss for a one-year extension will also be 640 billion Yen.
 

As for the International Olympic Committee, the cancellation of the Olympic Games was equally costly. In its business development system, in addition to the copyright revenue of the competition, which can reach billions of dollars per Olympic Games, its investment sponsorship income can also reach billions of dollars. The existing 14 TOP sponsors alone pay an average of ten Billion dollars each year. Once the event is cancelled or postponed, the IOC's established revenue will be affected at least.

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