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Will the 2020 Tokyo Olympics be canceled due to COVID-19?

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) (2014 Getty Images)

As the world tries to curb the rise of COVID-19 with events being canceled or rescheduled left and right, it’s an honest and open question to ask if this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo will go forward as planned.

The World Health Organization labeled COVID-19 as a pandemic, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see this monumental sporting event canceled in order to help stop the spread of the virus.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike spoke Thursday and said “I can’t say there won’t be an impact. But I believe cancellation is impossible.”

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the Japanese government wants to do because canceling the Olympics is a decision the International Olympics Committee (IOC) makes. The IOC is based out of Switzerland.

With only four and half months to go until the opening ceremony, Tokyo could stand to lose billions of dollars if the games are canceled.

“There is no plan now to change our plans,” Tokyo organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori said. “This is an important time for the organizing committee to stay firm. I realize these are complex problems. But that should not stop everything.”

While the decision is still up in the air to cancel or postpone the games, there are some pre-Olympic events that have been rescheduled and retooled.

For one thing, the torch relay is still going on, but plans for it has changed almost daily. The lighting ceremony in Greece was closed to the public, and when the torch arrives in Japan on March 20, the ceremony has been downsized, including 140 children who were set to perform.

If a decision is made about canceling the Olympics, it will most likely be made in the next few weeks, but as of now, things are still moving forward.


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