Signs suggest summer dates for 2021 Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympic organisers seem to be leaning away from starting the re-scheduled games in the spring of 2021. More and more the signs point toward the summer of 2021.

Organising committee President Yoshiro Mori suggested there would be no major change from 2020.

“The games are meant to be in summer, so we should be thinking of a time between June and September,” Japanese news agency Kyodo reported Mori saying on Saturday.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, after the postponement was announced in Switzerland last Tuesday, left open the possibility of spring dates.

The postponed games were to have opened on July 24 and closed on August 9. Mori suggested some decisions could be made as early as this week when the organising committee’s executive board meets.

File photo shows Olympic gold medallists Tadahiro Nomura and Saori Yoshida lighting the torch as Tokyo 2020 Olympics Chief Yoshiro Mori watches during the Olympic Flame Arrival Ceremony at Japan Air Self-Defence Force Matsushima Base in Higashimatsushima, north of Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

Any final decision will be made between local organisers and the IOC, and hundreds of sponsors, sports federations and broadcasters.

Athletes have been left in limbo by the postponement. Many have been forced to stop training because of the spreading coronavirus virus. Even those who can train have no idea about how to schedule training to reach peak fitness at the right time.

Mori and organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto have both said the added cost of re-scheduling will be “enormous”. Early estimates put those costs at between USD2-3 billion with the several levels of Japanese governments likely to foot most of the bills.

Tokyo organisers said they are spending USD12.6 billion to stage the games. However, a government audit report said it will cost at least twice that much. All but USD5.6 billion is public money.

The Switzerland-based IOC has contributed USD1.3 billion to organise the Tokyo Olympics, according local organising committee documents. It has a reserve fund of about USD2 billion for such emergencies and also has insurance coverage.