Tokyo 2020: Let us in, Let us in

Published on September 23rd, 2020

Training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, to be held in 2021, is not much different than pretty much everything else in life right now. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and the only thing more difficult than staging next year’s Games in a pandemic might be convincing sponsors to keep their billions of dollars on board in the midst of economic turbulence and skepticism.

To make the point this week, IOC President Thomas Bach will join a number of Japanese government and city officials, local organizers and other top International Olympic Committee leaders in repeating a message they’ve failed to convey forcefully enough to deep-pocketed sponsors: Trust us, the Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23, 2021.

Bach and IOC vice president John Coates — who oversees Tokyo preparations — are expected to speak remotely to Japanese officials as they meet this week. The agenda includes plotting countermeasures against COVID-19: quarantines, rules for athletes entering the country, testing, vaccines and the presence or absence of fans.

Few firm details are expected until late in the year or early in 2021, which accounts for the uncertainty, but unlike many events in which the track or swimming pool or pitch is similar from venue to venue, sailors need time at the Olympic venue to understand its traits.

To help with this uncertainty, Tokyo Olympics officials are proposing that the government relax immigration regulations to allow athletes to enter the country before next year’s postponed games and train during a 14-day quarantine period.

Until it all gets sorted, the Japanese sailors are getting a massive head start on their preparation while the rest of the world is studying the trends on their app… not quite the same.


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