Olympics 2020 to be canceled, if it doesn’t take place next summer: IOC President

Mumbai | Updated on May 22, 2020

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) attends a news conference after an Executive Board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.   -  Reuters

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which has been rescheduled for next year due to coronavirus, may get canceled if it does not take place next summer, as per the BBC Sport report.

Admitting that the job of re-organizing the Games was "a mammoth task", he said: "You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organizing committee...You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty."

He speculated that the event would "definitely be different" with a focus on "essentials."

He insisted staging the Games behind closed doors was "not what we want", but he needs more time to consider whether that was feasible.


Bach said he hoped the first-ever postponed Games, which are due to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021, could prove "unique" and send "a message of solidarity among the entire world, coming for the first time together again, and celebrating the triumph over coronavirus."

"There is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day. It's very challenging and at the same time fascinating," he told BBC Sport.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also maintained that it will be difficult for Japan to hold the Games if the country is not successful in containing the virus by next summer.

The head of the Japan Medical Association has suggested it depends on finding a vaccine.

When asked directly if he agreed, Bach said: "For this question, we are relying on the advice of the World Health Organisation.

"We have established one principle: to organize these Games in a safe environment for all the participants. Nobody knows what the world will look like in one year, in two months. So we have to rely on [experts] and then take the appropriate decision at the appropriate time based on this advice," he added.

"You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty. You cannot have so much overlap with a future Olympic Games, so I have some understanding of this approach by our Japanese partners," he further added.

When asked how confident he was that the Games would go ahead, Bach said: "We have to be prepared for different scenarios. There is a clear commitment to having these games in July next year.

Published on May 22, 2020

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