Tokyo Olympics Organizers Considering July 2021 for Opening Ceremony

Written by on March 28, 2020

LONDON — The Summer season Olympics in Tokyo, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will probably open on July 23, 2021, in keeping with folks conversant in the matter.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers bowed to widespread pressure amongst athletes, sports activities federations and nationwide Olympic committees and on Tuesday agreed to postpone the Video games to 2021 however left the brand new date in query. The opening ceremony of the Video games had been scheduled for July 24.

The I.O.C. stated a ultimate determination may are available in weeks, however it’s now more likely to be introduced earlier, in keeping with the folks, who spoke on situation of anonymity due to steering issued by the I.O.C. The Japanese state broadcaster NHK on Saturday additionally reported the July 23, 2021, date as the brand new goal.

The I.O.C. will convene an emergency assembly of its decision-making government board on Sunday to debate the choice.

Mark Adams, a spokesman for the group, gave a one-word reply, “hypothesis,” when requested concerning the new date on Saturday.

The choice to select an nearly an identical date to this 12 months’s occasion shouldn’t be significantly stunning, given the challenges to squeeze the Olympics in an already packed sporting calendar. It is also the most effective time for the U.S. broadcaster, NBCUniversal, which pays greater than $1 billion for the U.S. media rights to every Olympic Video games.

But it surely means the Video games will nonetheless happen throughout Tokyo’s hottest time of the 12 months, a problem that was already inflicting fear and issues. The Olympic marathon was moved to a northern, cooler metropolis after an outcry, and organizers had deliberate a number of steps to attempt to preserve followers and opponents cool.

On a name throughout the previous week with Thomas Bach, the I.O.C. president, some federations, together with these representing swimming, desk tennis, triathlon and equestrian, had voiced a desire to carry the Olympics within the spring. That, although, would have led to a conflict with the seasons for main soccer leagues and most of the richest U.S. sports activities leagues.

The I.O.C. additionally needed to make sure to avoid the European soccer championships, that are being moved to 2021 and normally happen in June.

The highway to maybe the most important impediment was cleared when the top of worldwide observe and discipline’s governing physique, Sebastian Coe, introduced that he was open to shifting the athletics world championships set for subsequent summer season in Eugene, Ore. Coe went additional than that on Friday, telling a gaggle of reporters that shifting World Athletics’s foremost occasion to 2022 could in actual fact be useful.

“You might have world championships in consecutive years the place we wouldn’t usually have had that,” he stated. “However for athletics, it’s not such a nasty factor. To go from 2021 Olympic Video games into two editions of the world championships, ’22 — probably ’22 — ’23 we’re in Budapest, after which into the Olympic Video games in Paris in ’24.

“It might provide athletics heart stage at a really public level of the 12 months,” he added. “So let’s take a look at it from a barely optimistic method of having the ability to punch our sport into the properties of many extra folks over a four-year consecutive cycle.”

Bach, who has endured a lot criticism over his dealing with of the coronavirus disaster, described reorganizing the Video games as a problem that might repay.

Among the many points organizers face are contracts price billions of {dollars} with broadcast companions and sponsors in addition to the best way to safe venues and keep key infrastructure that might must be mothballed for an additional 12 months.

“A Video games has by no means been postponed earlier than,” Bach stated. “Now we have no blueprint, however we’re however assured we will put a stupendous jigsaw puzzle collectively and can then in the long run have an exquisite Olympic Video games.”

The normal July-August date means the I.O.C. will probably be capable to name on the presence of prime gamers from the worlds of soccer, tennis and golf, among the largest names in international sport and an enormous attraction for tv audiences.

As soon as a date has been set, the subsequent problem might be to reorganize qualification competitions that had been disrupted by the coronavirus. Bach stated athletes who’ve already certified might be assured a spot for 2021.

A day after the postponement was declared, the I.O.C.’s desire for subsequent summer season was made clear when John Coates, the Australian who heads its fee liable for the Tokyo Video games, stated that there was a desire for the July-August dates, in keeping with an interview he gave to Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper.

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