A view of the Tokyo Olympic Rings ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Danny Lawson | PA pictures | Getty Images
The Tokyo Olympics are slated to officially start with a one-year delay, and the International Olympic Committee says organizers have done everything in their power to ensure safe games as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
“Anything that … can be done, anything that has been recommended by all of these experts – some of them here with us to deliver these Games – we have done,” said Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director.
He responded to criticism that the organization was using “cheap measures” and had not listened to advice. Dubi told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Friday that the IOC had received help from many experts around the world and “diligently followed up” on all recommended measures.
“I think we’re doing just the right thing and we don’t think it’s cheap at all,” he said.
Olympic Games Challenges
World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told organizers on Wednesday that they did their best and said the goal was not to have zero Covid cases during the Games.
“The sign of success is making sure all cases are identified, isolated, followed up, dealt with and the referral broken as soon as possible,” said Tedros.
Dubi of the IOC said organizers have been doing this for the past few days and will continue to do so.
Looking ahead, including the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, he said the IOC had learned to create safe conditions, but the situation was “very fluid” and would continue to evolve.
“We have to be prepared for the worst and plan for the worst,” he said. He added that there was “no talk at all” about a postponement.
The show must go on?
Earlier this week, Toshiro Muto, head of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee, didn’t rule out canceling the event if Covid-19 cases increase.
However, Kirsten Holmes, professor of events and tourism at Curtin University, said it was “very difficult” for organizers to cancel the games.
It is very difficult for the organizing committee to get stuck.
Professor at Curtin University
She said the Tokyo games will be logistically more difficult than normal games and there will have to be flexibility. “But I think it’s very unlikely that … all the games will be abandoned,” she said.
“We could see individual competitions being postponed or possibly canceled if all participants cannot participate,” she told CNBC on Friday to Street Signs Asia.
With no spectators or international visitors, Holmes said the Games are all about the athletes, some of whom may only have one chance to compete at this level.
“It is very difficult for the Organizing Committee to get stuck and so … we will see the event for the next few weeks and of course the Paralympic Games next month,” she said.
Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics owns the U.S. broadcast rights to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.
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