The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Organizing Committee (TOC) have agreed to hold a “simplified” Games in 2021 to limit the financial impact of the one-year delay and ensure the safety of those involved as Covid-19 continues to spread.
The decision came following recognition of the need for a “realistic plan” that allows the Olympics to be held and eliminates calls for its cancellation, The Japan News reported, citing an unnamed Japanese government source.
Some 200 items have already been earmarked for streamlining, TOC president Yoshiro Mori and CEO Toshiro Muto told a press conference. These items cover five areas: service levels, volume of provision, activities, operations and venues.
According to a statement from the IOC-Tokyo 2020 joint steering committee, organisers will make decisions on scaling back based on three revised goals: “to prioritise the health and safety of athletes, spectators, stakeholders, volunteers and staff; to reduce the cost impact of postponement and promote public interest; and to simplify and reduce the complexity of the Games to ensure they can be organised efficiently, safely and sustainably in this new context”.
Detailed plans are yet to be announced, but may include adjustments to the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as other “non-core cultural elements”.
“Critical sport competition and athlete-related elements”, however, will be maintained where possible and “only be adapted to the new context if absolutely necessary,” the statement continued.
Alongside the scaling down, the Tokyo Committee has rolled out a six-stage roadmap to 2021 to adapt to the evolving coronavirus situation.
Following confirmation of the new framework for the Games by end-June, the committee will reexamine the required service levels and initiate measures to overcome the challenges caused by the postponement. In late August, staff are set to carry out additional reviews of required services and begin their implementation, with preparation for Games time beginning in full in January 2021.
The Japanese government and the IOC have agreed that a further extension for the Olympics beyond 2021 will not be possible.