The Tokyo Olympics have been pushed back one year due to the current coronavirus pandemic and are now scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021.
On Monday, Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo organizing committee president said, “The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games. This will only accelerate our progress.”
The games were scheduled to open on July 24, 2020 and continue to Aug. 9. They will now end on Aug. 8 2021 according to Sportsnet.
Organizers pondered the idea of starting the Olympics in spring but did not go through with the idea as they thought the scheduling may clash with North American sports and European soccer.
“We wanted to have more room for the athletes to qualify,” said Mori.
This marks the first time in Olympic history that the games have been postponed. The only time the games have been cancelled is during wartime.
The Paralympics have also been rescheduled to begin on Aug. 24 and end on Sept. 5.
“The IOC has had close discussions with the relevant international federations,” Mori said. “I believe the IFs have accepted the games being held in the summer.”
The cost of rescheduling the games has been estimated to cost billions of dollars and most of the money will have to come from Japanese taxpayers.
CEO Toshiro Muto asked, “Since it (the Olympics) were scheduled for this summer, all the venues had given up hosting any other events during this time, so how do we approach that?”
“In addition, there will need to be guarantees when we book the new dates, and there is a possibility this will incur rent payments. So there will be costs incurred and we will need to consider them one by one. I think that will be the tougher process.”
Emeritus sports economics professor at Kansai University, Katsuhiro Miyamoto, estimated the cost to be close to $4 billion. This number includes covering stadium maintenance, rental payments, penalties and more.
This is on top of the reported $12.6 billion that is already being spent on the Olympic games—a number a Japanese government audit bureau noted is only half of the actual cost. The spending is being done with public money besides a $5.6 billion privately funded budget.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is reportedly making a contribution of $1.3 billion to the private budget.
Thomas Bach, the IOC president has referred to the Tokyo Olympics as the “best prepared in history” though Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso has called them “cursed.”
The Olympics were cancelled in Tokyo in 1940 due to World War II.