IOC ‘targeting’ July-August 2021 window for Tokyo’s Olympics

IOC Coordination Commission Chairman John Coates (L) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori (R) attend the IOC Project Review on February 13 (by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee is working with sports bodies to secure a July-August 2021 slot for this year’s rescheduled summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to John Coates, chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020.

Speaking to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri, Coates said the IOC is hoping to finalise a new schedule within a month, adding that the Games would need to be fitted between the tennis grand slams of Wimbledon and the US Open. “We want to more or less finalise the dates in four weeks’ time,” Coates said.

Coates added that a summer Games would be dependent on avoiding clashes with 2021’s World Athletics Championships and World Aquatics Championships. Both World Athletics and the International Aquatics Federation (Fina) have already said they are prepared to move their events, scheduled for Eugene, Oregon on August 6-15 and Fukuoka, Japan from July 16 to August 1, respectively.

Coates is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee. The AOC told the Reuters news agency that Coates had “proffered a view but confirms a range of options are on the table for the IOC”.

The IOC yesterday (Wednesday) designated a taskforce to work on rescheduling the now-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games, with president Thomas Bach stating that “sacrifices and compromises” will be required to make the event work in 2021.

This taskforce, dubbed ‘Here We Go’, held its first meeting today, with department heads of the various local organising arms, such as transportation, security and event management, forming the core of those present in Tokyo. “From now we take on an unprecedented challenge,” Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo.

Organising committee chief executive, Toshiro Muto, said organisers are facing a “contest of time” adding that he hoped a new timeframe would soon be decided for the Olympics, which were originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9. “There are many things that can’t proceed if the new hosting period is not decided quickly,” Muto said.