Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tokyo 2020 Olympics ‘to take place with or without Covid’

By Richard Bright

The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics slated for next summer “will take place with or without Covid”.

That’s the view from IOC vice president and leading official John Coates who has forecast that the 2020 Tokyo Games will be the “Games that conquered Covid”, although details are still to be ironed out over spectators and whether there would be limited attendance.

The Olympic Games have never been called off outside of the world wars but Coates has earmarked next July as a guaranteed start date for the opening ceremony.

“It will take place with or without Covid. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” Coates told the AFP news agency on Monday.


  • FIH Pro League: Sep – June 2021
  • Indoor World Cup 2021, Liege: Feb 3 – 7
  • FIH Congress, Delhi: May 19-23
  • 2021 EuroHockey, Amsterdam: June 4-13
  • 2020 Tokyo Olympics: July 23 – August 8, 2021
  • FIH Pro League season 3: Sep 2021 – June 2022
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham: July 28 – Aug 8

“The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami.

“Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.”

A recent poll from Japanese businesses suggested that a postponement would be a better call while Coates said it would be a “monumental task” for Tokyo organisers to host the Games.

“Before Covid, (IOC president) Thomas Bach said this is the best prepared Games we’ve ever seen, the venues were almost all finished, they are now finished, the village is amazing, all the transport arrangements, everything is fine,” Coates added to AFP.

Coates said the IOC was putting in “something like an extra $800 million to support the international federations, whose income isn’t happening this year, and national Olympic Committees”.

The FIH said back in May that it had taken up the IOC’s loan programme.

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