NEW YORK • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering various scenarios for the Tokyo Games in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, but cancellation is not one of them, IOC president Thomas Bach has told the New York Times.
Organisers of the world’s biggest multi-sports event have repeatedly said the Games would start on July 24 as scheduled, even as the rapid spread of Covid-19 has brought sporting events around the world to a standstill.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q Is there a date when you have to decide whether the Olympic Games will happen?
A What makes this crisis so unique and so difficult to overcome is the uncertainty. Nobody today can tell you what the developments are tomorrow, what they are in one month, not to mention in more than four months.
Q Do you have a group that is gaming out what it would look like and what would be needed to move the Games to the fall, the summer of 2021 or the summer of 2022 or any other time frame that has been discussed?
A This would mean we are speculating. We don’t know what the situation will be. Of course, we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organisations or professional leagues in that we are 41/2 months away from the Games. We are talking about the end of July.
Q Financially, what is the cost of a delay of one year or two years?
A We have our risk management policies in place and our insurance, and this will make it possible for us to continue our operations and organise future Olympic Games… The IOC has no cash-flow problem.
Q Do you feel comfortable putting on an Olympics that might be an un-level playing field because you are going to have athletes from certain countries who are unable to train?
A We have seen in some countries there are opportunities. We also have seen athletes are very creative to bridge this gap for training at home and other training methods. It is a unique exceptional situation, which requires exceptional solutions.
Q What do you need to see to say, “No, I can’t move forward with these Games.”
A The cancellation is not on the agenda.
Q What about postponement?
A We are committed to the success of these Games.