As IOC, Japanese leaders plan Tokyo Olympics, athlete protocols take shape

Tokyo Olympics Delayed
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IOC leaders and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide this week repeated their commitment to holding the Tokyo Olympics this summer while continuing to form coronavirus countermeasures for the Games that open July 23.

“I am determined to achieve the Games as a proof of human victory against the pandemic, a symbol of global solidarity and to give hope and courage around the world,” Suga said Friday.

IOC President Thomas Bach and IOC vice president John Coates, chair of the Tokyo Olympics coordination commission, repeated this week that the only plan is to hold the Olympics in Tokyo in July and August.

“The Games were never off,” Coates said in a Sky News Australia interview, noting Suga is “absolutely committed” and that the Japanese government is on board.

Coates said officials previously spent three months identifying all of the potential scenarios for the Tokyo Olympics with regard to the coronavirus — the worst-case scenario being one with the virus still present and no vaccine available.

“We’re planning on the basis it’ll take place without a vaccine,” he said.

In the Sky News interview, Coates provided details from forthcoming “playbooks” explaining virus countermeasures for different groups of people at the Olympics, including athletes, to protect themselves and others. The playbooks are expected to be distributed early next week.

Officials have about 40 countermeasures in what Bach has called “a toolbox” and are evaluating which ones to use with the Opening Ceremony six months away.

“It is too early to tell which of the many Covid countermeasures will finally be the appropriate one when it comes to the time of the Games,” Bach said on Wednesday. “There, we just have to ask for patience and understanding.”

One measure announced last month: Athletes should arrive at their village five days before the start of their competition and depart no more than two days after their competition ends.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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