The Tokyo Olympics Are 14 Months Away. Is That Enough Time?

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In that time, one thing has become clear: The Tokyo Games will happen in July and August of 2021 or they will not happen at all. A spokesman for the Tokyo Games said in April that there was no “B Plan.” Thomas Bach, the president of the I.O.C., reiterated that point this week: Either the Olympics open on July 23, with the Paralympics to follow on Aug. 24, or they will be canceled.

By necessity, nearly everything else is up in the air.

Fans or no fans? When and how will athletes continue the process of qualifying for the Games? Can they be kept healthy while they are in Tokyo? What will the Olympics look like given that the delay is costing organizers billions of dollars?

“This situation requires compromises and sacrifices by everybody,” Mr. Bach said in a conference call last week. “We are leaving no stone unturned to reduce the cost while maintaining the spirit of the Games and the quality of the sports competition. There are no taboos.”

Though 14 months may sound like a long time to some, the timeline provides little comfort in Japan, where the coronavirus continues to upend daily life, or for the Olympic organizers tasked with pushing back competitions, thousands of hotel reservations and the finishing touches of venue construction during an unpredictable pandemic.

“The efforts are monumental,” said Christophe Dubi, the I.O.C.’s sports director.

Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the local organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, said earlier this month: “All of us are committed to having the Games next July. All we are doing is to prepare the best we can to actually have the Games.”

The wild card is the course of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Sports are creeping back to life in various countries, and athletes are beginning to train in earnest again. But many borders are still closed, and the international athletic calendar remains a question mark, even as championships in golf, tennis and other global sports have been rescheduled for late summer and into the fall.

There are kernels of optimism as researchers edge closer to a vaccine, but one is not expected to be available until early next year, at best, and no one is ready to guarantee that an event as large and unwieldy as an Olympic Games will take place.

At this point, there is no exact deadline to decide firmly whether the Games will go forward or be scrapped.

Asked recently whether he thought the rescheduled Tokyo Games would be held as planned, Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, the chief medical officer for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said: “We are moving full speed ahead with plans for the Tokyo 2021 Games, and I am very hopeful and optimistic we will have the appropriate infection mitigation process in place, whether it is a vaccine or a cure or a low enough community transmission, or an ability to prevent or detect transmission.”

However, Dr. Finnoff, who is not an infectious diseases specialist, was also optimistic…

Read More: The Tokyo Olympics Are 14 Months Away. Is That Enough Time? 2020-05-22 10:09:10

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