IOC Confident Tokyo Olympics Will Be Held in July After COVID-19 Delay

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent INovember 11, 2020

A staff member wearing a face mask walks past the logo of Tokyo 2020 Olympics during a screening test for spectators and officials to ensure a safe and secure the Games Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo Olympic officials say they don't know exactly what measures will be taken against the COVID-19 pandemic at next year's Games, but they want the world to know they're working on it. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

The International Olympic Committee expects that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed over the summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will go on as rescheduled in July 2021, according to IOC president Thomas Bach (h/t Wilton Jackson of Sports Illustrated).

"Athletes are part of every decision the IOC is taking by being represented in every commission," Bach said. "Our clear commitment is to make the participation at the Olympic Games possible for all 206 NOCs and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team."

Bach acknowledged recent developments in Japan as evidence for his confidence in the future of the games, according to Tom Schad of USA Today, who reported that more than 2,000 fans were in attendance for an international gymnastics meet in Tokyo that was held over the weekend.

The IOC is exploring a "toolbox" of options to combat the pandemic during the Games, developing guidelines that involve travel and quarantine protocols as well as testing and possible vaccines, though he did not go into detail, per Schad.

"Having seen now the different tests in Japan, I think we can become more and more confident that we will have a reasonable number of spectators then also in the Olympic venues," Bach said. "How many and under which conditions, again, depends very much on the future developments."

Bach also reacted to the news out of the NBA, where the board of governors approved a collective bargaining agreement for a 72-game season beginning on Dec. 22. 

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"We received the very good news that the owners of the NBA teams have agreed with the players association on an early and shortened NBA season," Bach said. "This will allow the best basketball players of the world to play at the Olympic Games."