Cancelling Tokyo 2020 is not on agenda

Published on March 22nd, 2020

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach defended his organization’s handling of a decision regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in an interview with a German television and radio outlet on March 21.

The 66-year old, who is currently quarantined in his home office in Lausanne, Switzerland on Lake Geneva, Bach acknowledged that there were “no ideal solutions” to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact upon athletes’ preparations for the Olympic Games.

Bach, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in fencing for West Germany, has experience with Olympic conflicts: he was due to compete at the 1980 Olympic Games, which West Germany boycotted along with several other nations, including the United States.

Bach emphatically said that a cancellation is not on the agenda.

“Such a denial would be the least fair solution,” Bach said of the decision. “The cancellation would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC refugee team. You cannot postpone Olympic Games like a soccer game to next Saturday. This is a very complex business, where you can only act responsibly if you have reliable and clear bases for decision-making, and we monitor this every day, 24 hours a day.”

Bach’s plea was for more time and patience for the IOC to make the best decision. “We have to concentrate on finding a reliable basis for decision-making.”

Among the complications with postponement is that the housing that makes up the current athletes’ village has already been sold.

Four thousand units will be sold as condos, and another 1,600 will be rented. With 11,000 athletes, coaches, and officials descending upon the city, finding space to house them without the village is a major complication. Programs like these that push to re-purpose Olympic venues and facilities are a big part of the growing sustainability programs as the Games have become a financial anchor around the neck of recent host cities.

For reference, average sales prices per square foot of a Tokyo apartment in 2019 was about $7,800. That’s about five times the rate in Manhattan, the United States’ priciest market.

This led Bach to ponder a potential alteration of the vision of a postponed Olympic Games, and how to manage this and other conflicts that would arise.

Bach says that he is working on a solution to the problem. That, in-and-of-itself, is the strongest indication yet from inside the IOC’s leadership that a postponement is a real possibility. To date, the IOC’s messaging has been entirely around sending the Games off in July as scheduled, with only a few contributors to the movement dissenting.

Source: Swim Swam


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
Details: https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/schedule/olympic/

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