Dueling Reports Leave Future of Tokyo2020 Olympics in Further Doubt

Dueling reports over the last few hours from major publications have left a level of chaos and uncertainty about what is happening with the Tokyo2020 Olympics, already rescheduled to summer of 2021 due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

The Times, a British publication, sent a shockwave through the global sporting community when multiple publications, including Reuters and The Sydney Morning Herald, picked up their story about internal sources within the Japanese government casting doubt over the country’s ability to host the Olympic Games in the summer of 2021.

But, in spite of headlines like “Tokyo Olympics to be canceled for coronavirus: reports” (SMH), the actual substance of the source article is much less robust in its confidence.

Citing a single source within the government’s ruling coalition, The Times reports in its lead that “the Japanese government has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled because of the coronavirus, and the focus is now on securing the Games for the city in the next available year, 2032.”

The exact quote from the source, however, presents this more as an opinion.

“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the source said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

This runs counter to multiple other reports over the last day, which includes the International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach telling Kyodo News “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. There is no Plan B.”

Further, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga told Japanese parliament this week that “we will have full anti-infection measures in place and proceed with preparation and with a determination to achieve the Games that can deliver hope and courage throughout the world.”

So, the net effect is an escalation of the disagreement that has gripped the Olympic community for almost a year now. Previously, the lead of the organizing committee for the London 2012 Olympics said that he didn’t think the Games would happen, but he has no role in Tokyo 2021, so that was more of an opinion based on experience than direct knowledge of preparations.

A survey showed that 80% of the Japanese population did not want the country to host, but despite that, the IOC has remained steadfast that they are moving forward with the Games.

Privately, American Olympic leadership in the United States has been indicating that they expect the Olympics to move forward as well, though they haven’t made a public position statement.

And so, all of this leaves us with a growing sense of uncertainty. It feels as though a final go/no go call would have to come within the next few months to escape as much sunk cost as possible. The IOC’s next Executive Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 27.

Addition: after the original publication of this report, the USOPC posted on their Twitter account saying that they have not received any information regarding the upcoming Olympic Games being canceled.

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4 months ago

NFL has been playing for 5 months…..no reason they can’t hold some form of competition for countries who wish to participate.

Reply to  Gator
4 months ago

NFL is little different than a 15 million people sporting event.
Hopefully they can offer some type of international or national championship athletes can taper for.

Reply to  777
4 months ago

15 million people? What exactly are you talking about?

Charles Emerson Winchester III
Reply to  777
4 months ago

I mean, I don’t expect there to be fans traveling around the world obviously. But a couple thousand athletes should be possible with isolated Olympic villages and quarantine periods. The NHL, although on a smaller scale, was able to fly its players from around the world for the playoffs this summer. And had zero positive tests over several months. That’s more than a proof of concept.

Human Ambition
Reply to  Charles Emerson Winchester III
4 months ago

Normally the event would expect 10,000 athletes, 5,000 para athletes, 10,000+ coaches and support, 10,000+ officials. Other than that volunteer workers, which for example FINA World Championships in Kazan had 30,000.

Reply to  Human Ambition
4 months ago

Very doable numbers. Teams, volunteers, coaches, and officials will be vaccinated. The Games can go on…..

Corn Pop
Reply to  Gator
4 months ago

About the Covid + Tennis ppl currently in Melbourne, can they come to you r house to play?

Reply to  Gator
4 months ago

Its Japan not the NFL….they’ve taken this much more seriously than us.

Reply to  Ervin
4 months ago

Define “taking this much more seriously”, especially in light of comparing one entity to another

Japan Coronavirus: 345,221 Cases and 4,743 Deaths – Worldometer (worldometers.info)

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
4 months ago

I’m sure there’s a point you’re trying to make…but what that point is…has not been well-defined…by pasting a link without context…

Olympunks & Gamester Bullies
Reply to  Gator
4 months ago

The NFL/players and other pro sports/athletes make money, the Olympics costs tax-payer money and nearly all the athletes make no money (Except NBC television makes a lot of money), sooo…

Reply to  Gator
4 months ago

International travel is quite a bit different and ditto on multiple sports and multiple venues.Look at how other sports conducted their seasons and playoffs,Im wishful thinking but not more than 50/50 at this point that they happen in 2021 we are basically at the 11th hour for trials and training

4 months ago

i only trust the words of the great Dick Pound

Frankie 5 Angels
Reply to  worm
4 months ago

I’m always up for a good Dick Pound…..comment on the Olympics

Reply to  Frankie 5 Angels
4 months ago

This, right here, is what I’m here for.

4 months ago

Although usa swimming may be able to host a national level meet, the atmosphere would not match past Olympic trials without an Olympics. Just another summer nationals.

Reply to  SaddenedSwimmer
4 months ago

Not just another Summer Nationals.
The Summer Nationals!
It would be awesome if they sorted everyone by state and did state instead team relays at this (and the big name swimmers actually participated)

Reply to  Xman
4 months ago

how is that nationals then

Reply to  Xman
4 months ago

Props for trying to think of something…sry you’re gonna get murdered in the ratio

Reply to  Xman
4 months ago

I really appreciate what you’re going for here, the idea of one big market group against another big group to spice up the competition. But, right now a state vs. state or region vs. region is the last thing America needs. We need a unified Team USA. In my opinion.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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