Thomas Bach: Tokyo Olympics Would Be Canceled if They Can’t Be Held in 2021

In an interview with BBC Sport Wednesday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said he accepts that the Tokyo Olympics would need to be canceled if they still can’t be held in 2021.

“You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee,” Bach told BBC Sport. “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.”

In the same interview, he said that postponing a year is a “mammoth task,” and that the 2021 event will “definitely be different” with some aspects pared down to “essentials.”

Bach declined to say if the development of COVID-19 vaccine is necessary for the 2021 Games to go on as planned, as well as if they might happen without spectators if the need arises.

“There is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day,” Bach added. “It’s very challenging and at the same time fascinating.”

Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that hosting the Olympics next year would be “impossible” unless the coronavirus pandemic is under control by next then.

“It would be impossible to hold the Games in such a complete form unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained,” Abe said. He told Japan to “brace for a protracted battle,” and that the Olympics “must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.”

Abe’s statement came a day after Japanese Medical Association head Yoshitake Yokokura said the Olympics would have to be canceled if a vaccine for the coronavirus is not found.

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swimboi
1 year ago

damn.

Captain Ahab
1 year ago

Japan needs to sue China.

Scoobysnak
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

One country suing another? Brilliant!

Captain Ahab
Reply to  Scoobysnak
1 year ago

International litigation

Corn Pop
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

I knew a few ppl who could have sued Japan .

Reid
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

The irony

Gator
1 year ago

Sounds like a polite way of saying they have mismanaged their finances and are broke. Japan should fire them and hold “the games” only including the cool sports (like swimming).

RUN-DMC
1 year ago

The best way to get control of the virus by summer 2021 is to fully open all economies now, let people get sick, get over it, and develop herd immunity. This would be all over in 3-4 months if we did that.

Corn Pop
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

There is a good argument that some countries did take advantage to get rid of a chunk of their elderly / co morbid. If it did not work the 1st time , a second wave would do the job .

Ragnar
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

If we were talking about a herd of earthworms(flock? gaggle?) you’d be correct. The human life historical is considered a priority over sporting events and long weekends at the Dave & Busters.

Swimmer A
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

How would you fully open the economy while losing ~100,000 per week? What do you think, everyone’s just gonna carry on like normal while 1-4% of the population is dying and another 10% is completely incapacitated?

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 year ago

1-4% dying and 10% incapacitated? Please enlighten us how you arrive at these estimates. There are 330 million in the US and 95K have died. The math on that shouldn’t be too difficult to put your 1-4% in perspective.

The US needs healthcare
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 year ago

Oh man the spread of misinformation is real…. we are praying for the US acdross the world.

Swimmer A
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 year ago

I would love to enlighten you, thanks. RUN-DMC commented that we should fully open the economy, let people get sick, and develop herd immunity. We would expect in this scenario to lose far more people to Covid-19 than our current strategy of social distancing and a heavily restricted economy. We’ve lost an average of 14,000 per week over the last 6 weeks. I figure in a completely open environment where the virus can spread freely, a rough estimate of 100,000 deaths per week during this period is not unreasonable. As for the 1-4% deaths and 10% incapacitated, that is just based on the early death rates and hospitalization rates for Covid-19 when we were not taking precautions. Of course, all… Read more »

HISWIMCOACH
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 year ago

When you’re saving lives, facts don’t matter. Because you’re saving lives!

PARTICIPANT RIBBON
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 year ago

You aren’t that guy who came up with the 2.2 million model in the US are you?

Swimmer A
Reply to  PARTICIPANT RIBBON
1 year ago

No, that was another guy on a swimming website.

The US needs healthcare
Reply to  PARTICIPANT RIBBON
1 year ago

PARTICIPANT RIBBON and IRSH RANGER. I’m so sorry your government has misinformed your country. What is going on in the US right now is absolutely criminal. You guys have not had access to any real data or even a real leader during this time. I know the WHO and your university’s have been shut down by your leader blocking any real data or info. Please stay safe out there and know that going out right now and continuing on with day to day is spreading and killing inocent and uniformed citizens of your country.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 year ago

3.3 – 13.2 million dead and 33 million incapacitated? How do you arrive at these numbers?

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Swimmer A
1 year ago

Given the current mortality rates, with an open economy, I would guess we would end up somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 deaths all told nationwide, with about 90% of those deaths among people with other chronic health conditions. And that’s assuming no treatment was found.

Swimmer A
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

That sounds like a reasonable guess for how many total deaths when this is all said and done. I think if we chose the path of heard immunity and got it over quickly we would expect a higher number of total deaths, and a higher death rate than the path we’re currently on. The death rate is the part that I’m concerned about, because if we let the virus run wild our hospitals wouldn’t be able to handle the load, and then some of the more treatable things in life would become fatal or seriously disabling.

torchbearer
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

No one is even sure you get immunity from exposure for starters. There appears to be long term health consequences, including lung damage and chronic fatigue. You would be encouraging it to mutate into an even worse form….etc etc. Herd immunity is a simplistic cliche, not a solution.

Verram
1 year ago

Japan should thank their Big asian rival China and WHO for being upfront about the coronavirus from the start .. especially no travel bans earlier on to help stop the spread of the virus

Sir Swimsalot
1 year ago

Politics and arguments aside I hurt for the athletes. Cancelled in 2020, huge hit. Postponed to 2021, not ideal but the Games will go on. And now that is uncertain. This downright sucks.

Bobs horse
1 year ago

There is a typo in the caption under photo, should be “Games.”

Verram
Reply to  Bobs horse
1 year ago

It’s a big political GAME is how I read it haha .. olympics are just collateral damage to them

Time Keeper
1 year ago

Thomas Bach?? Where is Dick Pound? The only voice that matters on the subject

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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