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Last week, amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Japan, reports in The Times of London stated that the Japan government privately concluded that the 2021 Olympic games be cancelled due to the Coronavirus. That led to immediate pushback from the IOC and Japan's own Olympic committee, and the Japanese government, which called the reports “categorically untrue.”
Japan Olympic Committee chairman Yasuhiro Yamashita said they are still consulting with the WHO on how to host a safe Olympics. Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo earlier this month, as daily cases in Japan soared to 5,000 or more a day. With mass vaccination not set to begin in the country before May, a poll by the Japanese broadcaster NHK showed that 77 percent of residents favoured canceling or postponing the Games.
Meanwhile, IOC president Thomas Bach told media on Friday:
“We have, at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo... There is no Plan B."
Organizers and I.O.C. officials have said that no further postponement is possible and that if the Games do not proceed in the summer of 2021 they will be canceled, which would be the first time the Games have been scrubbed since World War II.
On today's show, hosts Michael Doyle and Alex Cyr speculate about the logistical and financial feasibility of the 2021 Olympics, how the IOC could use this trying year as a springboard for a better Olympic model, and what changes in sports, customs and traditions would make the Games better for 2021 and beyond.