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A day after announcing the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the head of the International Olympic Committee suggested the competition might be rescheduled before the summer of 2021.
Speaking with hundreds of reporters in a teleconference Wednesday, IOC president Thomas Bach said a new task force will face the “huge jigsaw puzzle” of setting a new date amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“That means this task force can consider the broader picture,” he said. “This is not just restricted to the summer months. All the options are on the table.”
The postponement calls for the Games to take place no later than summer 2021.
Working in a group dubbed “Here We Go,” representatives from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee were scheduled to hold their first meeting Thursday. They will focus on creating an open space in an already crowded 2021 sports calendar.
The international federations governing each sport must be willing to cooperate, which could include shifting previously scheduled world championships and other major events, Bach said. Track and field, and swimming have their world championships scheduled for next year in July and August.
“I guess that these postponed Olympic Games will need sacrifices, will need compromises by all the stakeholders,” he said. “We have to find the best possible solution under the circumstances we are living in.”
The task force has no time line but hopes to reach a decision soon. Extending his jigsaw analogy, Bach said: “If you take out one piece, the whole puzzle is destroyed. Everything has to come together, and everything is important.”
Before Tuesday’s announcement that the Games would be postponed, the IOC had insisted on starting them as scheduled July 24. When asked about criticism of this stance, Bach cited President Donald Trump and other world leaders in explaining the desire to wait for a potential lessening of the pandemic.
“In the last couple of weeks, the measures of many governments, they were limited until middle of April, some beginning of May,” he said. “You have maybe seen the latest declarations there in the United States from President Trump about the prospect of middle of April their being able to lift many restrictions.”
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