X

IOC chief: Tokyo Olympics must be held in 2021 or will be canceled

Thomas Bach says staging the massive sporting event behind closed doors is "not what we want."

gaelcropped2.jpg
gaelcropped2.jpg
Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
tokyo-olympics-getty

The 2020 Summer Olympics have been pushed back a year, and if they don't happen in 2021, they'll be canceled outright.

Behrouz Mehri/Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympics will either be held in 2021, or canceled completely, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach explained the reasoning to the  BBC  on Wednesday.

"You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organizing committee," Bach told BBC Sport. "You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty."

The Tokyo Summer Olympics were originally scheduled to take place from July 24 till Aug. 9, 2020, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, they were pushed back a year and rescheduled for July 23 till Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympic Games have also been rescheduled, and are now set to run from Aug. 24 till Sept. 5, 2021.

In late April, Tokyo Games organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said the games simply couldn't be postponed for a second time but added that he was confident the event would happen in 2021.

In the BBC interview, Bach said the rescheduled games would be "different," and noted that organizers would have to focus on "essentials." He wouldn't say if the event would go on if a coronavirus vaccine wasn't found before the opening date.

He also said that staging the events behind closed doors, with no spectators, was "not what we want."

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

See all photos