Tokyo 2020 Will Go Ahead Next Year With Or Without Covid, Says IOC Vice-President John Coates

Tokyo 202One - Photo Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates insists the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead next year “with or without COVID”.

The Games were pushed back a year because of the pandemic and there has been much speculation and debate as to whether the rescheduled Games will go ahead.

Coates heads the IOC’s Co-ordination Commission for the Tokyo Games and he is adamant they will start on 23 July 2021.


The Australian Olympic Committee president spoke to news agency AFP in a telephone interview and said:

“It will take place with or without COVID.

“The Games will start on July 23 next year.

“The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the (2011) tsunami.

“Now these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Japan is largely closed to overseas visitors and there is no sign as to when a vaccine will actually be developed and ready.

Japanese officials have insisted the Games will not be delayed a second time while a recent poll found just one in four Japanese want the Olympics to go ahead next year.

Postponing Tokyo 2020 has been a herculean task logistically and commercially and now a task force has been set up to examine different scenarios for next year including how border control affects the movement of athletes, to whether fans can attend and keeping stadia safe.


Photo Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

The group, which comprises Japanese and IOC officials, met for the first time last week.

Coates said:

“Their job now is to look at all the different countermeasures that will be required for the Games to take place.

“Some countries will have it (COVID) under control, some won’t. We’ll have athletes therefore coming from places where it’s under control and some where it is not.

“There’s 206 teams… so there’s a massive task being undertaken on the Japanese side.”

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  1. Simon Richards

    Hopefully a vaccine can be produced before then. If not, then got to look for bubbles for athletes and media and, worst case, do the competition with no spectators and then put it all out on tv/media.

  2. Peter Scott

    Let’s hope they do go ahead and that they are safe…….however the selfish attitudes of various populations around the world really call into question whether they truly can be safe and even if they should be held……saying they will go ahead regardless is a naive and self-centred attitude…….it wasn’t that long ago they were saying this about this year and that never happened……

  3. avatar

    With less than 10 months to go and record high new cases world wide and no control in USA it seems foolhardy to say ‘the games will go ahead with or without Covid’. Sounds irresponsible and sort of pig headed to me

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