Tokyo Needs New Dates Before Other Logistical Issues Can Be Tackled
The Tokyo Games “need new dates for the opening and closing ceremonies” in ’21, and both local organizers and the Japanese government believe that “nothing much can get done until those dates are worked out” by the IOC, according to Stephen Wade of the AP. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said, “We must decide this soon, otherwise it will be hard to decide on other things to follow.” During a meeting with the Tokyo 2020 New Launch Task Force, Muto “ran off a condensed string of issues to be resolved: ticketing, security, venues, merchandise, accommodation, the Athletes Village, transportation and lining up unpaid volunteers.” He added that he was “looking at ‘thousands of contracts’ and the interests of broadcasters, sponsors, the IOC, world sports federations and national Olympic committees” (AP, 3/26). In L.A., David Wharton notes the final decision will “require cooperation from a tangle of broadcasters, corporate sponsors and 33 international federations that govern each sport.” Officials want to reach a decision as soon as possible, but IOC President Thomas Bach “acknowledged they face a ‘huge jigsaw puzzle’” (L.A. TIMES, 3/26).
FINDING A SPOT: REUTERS’ Kim & Ransom cited Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper as reporting the IOC is working on arranging a “July-August window for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month.” IOC VP John Coates, who also serves as IOC Coordination Commissioner Chair for the Tokyo Games, reportedly indicated that the Games would “have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, slated to end in mid-July, and the U.S. Open, which starts in late August” (REUTERS, 3/26).
BEST DECISION TO BE MADE: A WALL STREET JOURNAL editorial states the postponement decision is a “tremendous disappointment to the athletes around the world who had planned to compete as well as the many businesses in Japan hoping the Olympics might deliver an economic lift after the losses inflicted by Covid-19.” However, the IOC and local Tokyo officials deserve a Gold Medal, as they “tried to keep the Games going as long as they could -- and had the grace to bow to the inevitable when they couldn’t” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/26).