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IOC and Tokyo Olympic organizers refute cancellation story

Canadian officials express confidence the Games can go on

Yesterday The Times newspaper posted a story citing a government source in Japan that told the British paper that the rescheduled Olympics would be cancelled due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier today Japanese officials refuted the claims made in The Times:

“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020OrganizingdCommittee, the IOC and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are fully focused on hosting the games this summer,” organizers said in a statement. “We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure games.”

The IOC also sent out a statement which said the governing body was “fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”

Hours before The Times story came out we reported  that there were conflicting views of the possibility the Games would actually take place this summer – with the former CEO of the London Olympic Games telling the BBC that it was “unlikely” the Games would go on, while Canada’s Richard Pound, a former vice-president of the IOC and current IOC president Thomas Bach were both optimistic the Games would take place.

Then The Times reported that the Japanese government is now trying to “find a face-saving way of announcing the cancellation that leave open the possibility of Tokyo playing host at a later date.”

National Olympic associations around the world were quick to point out that they hadn’t received any official word from the Tokyo organizers and that, as far as they were concerned, preparation for the Games that are slated to start on July 23 continues.

Canada’s chef de mission for the Games. Olympic rowing medalist Marnie McBean, told CBC that she’d been inundated with messages after The Times story came out, but was relieved when Canadian Olympic Association president David Shoemaker sent out a series of tweets expressing confidence that the Games would go on.

“I was really proud of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s response to confirm what we knew — that the Games are still very much happening,” McBean told the CBC.

It’s hard to imagine that the Games are a certainty at this point, with Japan currently dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases and Tokyo and some surrounding precincts locked down. In recent polls 80 percent of Japan’s population have said they feel Games should be cancelled or postponed again due to the current conditions.