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Coronavirus and the $25 billion bet

Published on February 14th, 2020

When it comes to the Olympic Games, it’s always something.

For the Rio 2016 Olympics, concern about crime and pollution was anticipated, but the onset of the Zika virus raised the volume. Now it’s Tokyo’s turn, and while intense heat was forecasted, the coronavirus outbreak is having an impact.

With a cost estimate of $25 billion to host the 2020 Games, there’s a lot at stake for Tokyo.

Already, the outbreak has forced the postponement of numerous sporting events, including the Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai and the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Nanjing.

Events in several sports, including Olympic qualifiers, have either been cancelled, postponed, or moved out of China because of the virus. It has also prevented Chinese athletes from traveling to events outside of the nation, which could curtail their presence at Tokyo 2020.

For Sailing, the 2020 49erFX Asian Championship and 2020 Nacra 17 Asian Championship to be held in China have been postponed, and as these events were to be the Women’s Skiff and Mixed Multihull Asian Continental Qualification Events for Tokyo 2020, this will now occur at the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series event on April 12-19 in Genoa, Italy.

More than 1,350 people in neighboring China have been killed by the virus, which originated in Wuhan, while there are thought to be almost 60,000 infections in total. More so, Japan has now confirmed its first death from the virus, while 247 cases have so far been reported in the country.

However, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori has labelled suggestions this year’s Olympics and Paralympics could be cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak as “irresponsible rumors” and reiterated his insistence that the Games will go ahead as planned.

Concerns over the impact of the virus, given the official name of COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), on the Games in the Japanese capital have grown in recent weeks.

But Tokyo 2020 officials have repeatedly stressed the Olympics – due to begin with the Opening Ceremony on July 24 – and Paralympics will take place as scheduled.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe promised earlier this month that the country would “respond appropriately” and work closely with the WHO to ensure preparations for Tokyo 2020 are not affected by the virus.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō, however, admitted last week that he was “seriously worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games.”

Tokyo 2020 Athletes’ Village Mayor Saburo Kawabuchi conceded that organisers “don’t have any clue when this issue will be resolved.”

The IOC is expecting regular updates from organisers and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government regarding the virus so they can see the “necessary precautions that are being taken,” said senior IOC member and Coordination Commission chairman John Coates.

Source: InsideTheGames, Scuttlebutt

TOKYO 2020 Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Olympic schedule: July 24 – Aug 9
Sailing schedule: July 26 – Aug 6

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