IOC President Says It's Too Early to Speculate About Future of 2021 Olympics

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2020

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach gestures as he speaks during an interview after the historic decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 25, 2020. - Olympic chief Bach says

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Thursday he's not willing to discuss speculation surrounding the potential cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics if they're not held next summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We are one year and two months away from the opening of these postponed Olympic Games," Bach told reporters when asked whether the 2021 Games could be moved or canceled after being postponed from 2020. "So we should not fuel any speculation on any future developments for now."

Bach was asked about a variety of topics concerning next year's Olympics, ranging from whether a vaccine is essential to holding the Games to whether the event could happen without fans from around the world in attendance, but he wouldn't shed much light on the IOC's outlook.

"We have [a] task force to ensure the organization of these Games in a safe environment," he said. "We trust the advice of this task force in every respect."

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said during an April interview with Japanese outlet Nikkan Sports (via Reuters' Jack Tarrant and Junko Fujita) the Games would be "scrapped" if they can't be played in 2021, but he remained hopeful of moving forward with the new schedule.

"We have delayed the Olympics until next summer after we will have won the battle," Mori said. "The Olympics would be much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with it after winning this battle. We have to believe this otherwise our hard work and efforts will not be rewarded."

The Games' opening ceremony is now scheduled for July 23, 2021. The event, which includes 339 events across 33 sports with 11,000 athletes expected to qualify, would end Aug. 8.

Bringing together that many athletes, and potentially fans, may not be possible without a vaccine.

"My personal opinion is that if an effective vaccine has not been developed, it will be difficult to hold the Olympic Games," Japan Medical Association president Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura said in April. "I would not say they should not be held, but I would say that it would be exceedingly difficult."

No deadline has been set for when a final decision about the 2021 Olympics will be made either by the IOC or the Japanese government.