Sports | April 28, 2020 9:24 am

Postponed Tokyo Olympics Will Be Canceled in 2021 if Pandemic Continues

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said no further postponement of the Games was possible

The Olympic rings in Tokyo on April 7, 2020.  (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty)
The Olympic rings in Tokyo on April 7, 2020. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty)
AFP via Getty Images

Though officials are still working toward holding the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics in 2021 as planned, the president of the Tokyo Games said they will have to be canceled if the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t brought under control by next year.

On Tuesday, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said no further postponement of the Games was possible.

“The Olympics were canceled in the past for problems like war,” he said. “We are fighting against an invisible enemy now.”

Already delayed by a year thanks to the worldwide spread of coronavirus, the Games are scheduled to open on July 23, 2021.

If the Tokyo Games are able to be held in 2021, officials believe they will be extremely meaningful.

“The Olympics would be much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with them after winning this battle,” Mori said. “We have to believe this otherwise our hard work and efforts will not be rewarded.”

Also on Tuesday, the president of Japan’s Medical Association, Yoshitake Yokokura, said it would be “difficult” for Tokyo to host the Olympics unless an effective vaccine had been found.

“I am not saying that (Japan) should or shouldn’t host it, but I expect it would be difficult to do so,” Yokokura said at a press conference. “I want to believe that (the number of) infected people (in Tokyo) is decreasing. But there is not enough testing being conducted in Japan so it’s difficult to assess (if the number of cases have fallen). We need to monitor the situation for another week.”

On April 7, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and six other parts of Japan over a spike in coronavirus cases.

Health officials report more than 13,600 cases of the virus in Japan and 385 deaths.

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