Housing of the Athletes is a major concern with the postponement as the 5,632 houses along the Tokyo Bay were to be occupied by the public post the Olympics.
As difficult as it would have been to take the call to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the real challenge for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) begins now -- to figure out the window in which the Games could be staged in 2021. While the expectation is that the Games would take place around the same time -- July-August -- there is also a possibility of it being staged much before that.
“The agreement is that we want to organize these Games at the latest in the summer [of] 2021,” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “This is not restricted just to the summer months. All the options are on the table including the summer 2021.”
While there is no doubt that the economic toll of the postponement is huge, the feeling across the world is that it was a forgone conclusion and that the IOC was simply delaying the inevitable by trying to wait and watch.
Athletes were largely relieved given the current situation and the disruption Covid-19 it has brought about in their training and build-up routine to the Games. The decision -- though initiated by the Japanese premier himself -- is a huge blow for Japan which will also be bearing the massive burden of reorganizing logistics, funding and sponsorship, in addition to the money already spent. Japanese financial newspaper, Nikkei, made an estimate of the additional cost as around $ 2.7 billion. So far, the rough estimate is that the organisers have spent about $ 12.6 billion.
Other than the monetary implications, other logistics did not take a back seat in the discussion. Housing of the Athletes is a major concern as the Games Village was made to house 11,000 athletes and staff, along with 4,400 Paralympians and their support staff. The 5,632 houses along the Tokyo Bay were to be occupied by the public post the Games. Almost 1,500 of those houses have already been sold. Some cost over $ 10 million. That sale is now going to be put on hold.
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“This is one of the many thousands of questions this task force will have to address. We hope and we will do whatever we can so that there is an Olympic village, the village is where the heart of the Games beat,” Bach added.
A task-force to be known as 'Here We Go' has been established to take the responsibility of rescheduling the Games for the first time in Olympic history. The IOC president said the decision on the timing of the postponed Games is to be made 'as soon as possible'.
Bach also goes on to describe the postponement of the Games as a "huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit".
Earlier in the week, the IOC faced heavy criticism from athletes and teams calling for the Games to be postponed and expressed their displeasure in the slow decision-making compared to other sports events. Major competing countries like Canada and Australia announced they won't be sending their athletes to compete.
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The body is to initiate talks with other global sporting bodies from March 26, since moving the Games is a gigantic task as it will have a domino effect for many other competitions.
“We are in an unprecedented situation. I guess these postponed Olympic Games will need sacrifices, will need compromises by all stakeholders,” he added.
While the Games have been postponed, a Spring Olympics doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all. Summers in Tokyo are harsh with temperatures rising to 32 degree Celcious, and competing would possibly be easier in spring since it is away from the winter chills and the summer heat.
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