The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday.
John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August.
“We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying.
Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said that the summer scheduling would be dependent on avoiding clashes with the World Aquatics Championships (July 16 to Aug. 1) and the World Athletics Championships (Aug. 6 to 15).
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has said that the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, could be moved back to 2022 if necessary.
Coates told the newspaper that the hope was to follow the same arrangements next year that had been planned for this year, including holding the marathon in the northern city of Sapporo instead of Tokyo to escape the heat.
The Australian Olympic Committee confirmed the newspaper report’s veracity and told reporters in a statement that Coates had “proffered a view, but confirms a range of options are on the table for the IOC.”
The Tokyo Games organizing committee yesterday launched a task force to resolve issues linked to the postponement, an “unprecedented” and complex task that includes reviewing dates for the Games and securing venues.
No specifics have been discussed yet on the timing of the delayed Games, but a date needs to be decided as soon as possible, senior official Hidemasa Nakamura told reporters after the task force’s first meeting.
Rescheduling would involve “massive” additional costs, organizers said.
“One by one, we need to ensure the problems we face can be solved,” Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said in opening remarks at the task force’s first meeting.
“Additional expenses are going to be quite massive we assume. With regards to our revenues, we need to make a lot of effort there,” he added.
Muto gave no estimates for how much the process of postponing the Olympic and Paralympic Games could cost.
However, the Nikkei said organizers have estimated that it would cost an extra US$2.7 billion, including for venue rentals, rebooking hotels and additional payments for staff and security guards, among others.
Those costs could still come down depending on the outcome of negotiations, the newspaper said.
Muto said that organizers would not rip up their existing plans, but added: “I guess we need to step back a bit.”
“Sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board,” he added.
The Olympics have never faced this much disruption in peacetime, and the decision to delay the event has created unprecedented challenges, Tokyo Games organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said.
Tokyo Games staff “will experience difficulties they have never experienced before. I am sure they will rise to the occasion. This is going to be a very difficult task that we are facing,” he said.
Muto underscored the scale of the task ahead, saying that even he “didn’t imagine at all we would be tested to this degree.”
“We want to make sure we go beyond this test and that next year in Tokyo the torch is lit for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We believe this is the mission we face,” he added.
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