Olympic leaders, Japan prime minister deny report about Tokyo Games cancellation

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Tokyo Olympic organizers, the IOC and the Japanese government said the Games are still set to open July 23, opposing a Thursday report that quoted an unnamed source that suggested the Tokyo Games would have to be canceled.

“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC are fully focused on hosting the Games this summer,” according to a Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee statement. “We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games.”

The IOC on Friday referred to a Japanese government statement that called the report “categorically untrue.”

“Together with its Japanese partners and friends, the IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery” of the Tokyo Games this year, according to the IOC.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide told his parliament that he was determined to realize the Olympics and would work closely with the IOC, according to Reuters.

John Coates, an IOC vice president and its coordination commission chair for the Tokyo Games, said the Olympics are “proceeding fully,” noting IOC President Thomas Bach had a previously scheduled briefing with all IOC members on Thursday and one set with National Olympic Committee presidents, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“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,” Bach told Kyodo News on Thursday, before the Times report that Japan’s focus shifted to trying to host the next available Summer Olympics in 2032.

Coates said, “There is no discussion on 2032 with Japan because there is no discussion on not proceeding in Japan,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Simone Biles said on TODAY on Friday that she’s prepared to adhere to any pandemic-related measures Olympic organizers set for Tokyo, “even if means we’re in a bubble.”

“It is kind of crazy, but it’s to be expected,” she said of all the news and statements over the previous day. “We are in a pandemic, so we’re kind of ready for whatever life throws at us at this point.”

Three large National Olympic Committees — the U.S., Canada and Australia — also pushed back on the report.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement, “We have not received any information suggesting the Games will not happen as planned, and our focus remains on the health and preparedness of Team USA athletes ahead of the Games this summer.”

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll addressed what he called an “unfounded rumor.”

“The Tokyo Games are on,” he said in a press conference. “The flame will be lit on the 23rd of July, 2021.”

Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker tweeted, “We are unaware of any decision taken by the Japanese government as is being reported. Official information regarding the Games will be communicated through the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.”

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