Rescheduled Tokyo Olympics Could Be 'Simplified' Next Summer
Though no specifics have been announced, Tokyo is preparing for a potentially “very different” Olympic Games next year
The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be “very different” from past years for both athletes and spectators alike, the Associated Press reports, citing several unsourced news stories from the Japanese media.
In late March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Summer Games would be rescheduled for the same time slot next year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The Olympics will now be held from July 23 through August 8, 2021, but the unprecedented delay has created much uncertainty regarding the games.
Last week, various Japanese media sources published stories indicating that the Olympics will be “downsized,” “simplified” or “very different.”
Officials have not yet announced any specific modifications, but the reports indicated that athletes may face quarantines and coronavirus testing and seating could be reduced, if there are any fans at all.
Tokyo Olympics spokesman Masa Takaya appeared in an online news conference last Thursday following the published reports but did not confirm any of the leaked information about downsizing.
He did, however, address concerns about reducing the amount of seating, as millions of tickets have already been sold.
“We want to brush away these concerns,” Takaya said, speaking to ticket holders.
“We understand that countermeasures for COVID-19 next year, particularly during games time, is one of the biggest things to address in preparing for the games next year,” he added. “But once again these countermeasures will be discussed in more depth from this autumn onward.”
Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said that costs must be cut for the rescheduled games, but added that ensuring athletes’ safety may lead to higher expenses.
“Unless safety and security are ensured, there will be uncertainty for the athletes-first point of view,” she said, according to the AP. “We must study measures including virus testing in order to ensure safety and security.”
When the postponement was first announced, IOC President Thomas Bach issued a statement, writing, “Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
The delay marks only the fourth time in modern Olympic history that the games have been disrupted.
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