While talks of the cancellation of the already-postponed 2020, now 2021, Olympic Games have appeared frequently since last summer, Florida has volunteered to host the Games after multiple news sources reported last week that the Games were going to be canceled.
Following the reporting of rumors that members of Japan’s government had conceded that the Games were unlikely to occur this summer, the Chief Financial Officer of Florida, Jimmy Patronis, sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee offering to move the Games location to Florida. While the Japanese government has since claimed the reports of cancellation “categorically untrue”, Patronis continued with his effort to convince the IOC of Florida’s viability as a host. In his letter to Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, Patronis wrote:
“With media reports of leaders in Japan “privately” concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place, there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida to meet with statewide and local officials on holding the Olympics in the Sunshine State. I would welcome the opportunity to pitch Florida and help you make the right contacts to get this done.”
➡️ Read my full letter to the International Olympic Committee: https://t.co/8OkzDc3d7H
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) January 25, 2021
As part of his proposal, Patronis cited the state’s ability to host the NBA “bubble”, UFC, and NFL competitions successfully, as well as their ability to keep Disney Parks open throughout the pandemic. Patronis also included that the state had multiple high-quality athletic facilities across the 12 major universities in the state. He concluded his letter by saying, “Whatever precautions are required let’s figure it out and get it done.”
In response to the Tampa Bay Times’ inquisition on Patronis’ letter, the IOC media team reported that they had yet to receive it. The IOC went on to cite their statement from last week where they reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in Tokyo as scheduled. Thomas Bach’s video on the IOC’s commitment to the games from last week can be found here.
There has been some speculation among Olympic organizers that the anonymous “source” that shared the initial information about the government’s plan to cancel the Olympics had ulterior motives, perhaps wishing to destabilize the government ahead of an upcoming general election in Japan.
With new case counts still riding high in the state, and with relatively-few protocols in place, it’s unlikely that most of the world’s countries, especially those like New Zealand and Australia that have all-but-eliminated the spread of the virus, would be willing to send athletes to Florida under current circumstances.
The state of Florida currently has recorded 1,658,169 cases of COVID-19. Florida recorded nearly 9,500 cases on January 26th, making them one of just 5 states to record over 5,000 cases for the day.