A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has told Eurosport they are "as confident as we can be" that the Tokyo Games will go ahead in 2021 – and quashed a report claiming a cancellation was looming.
The Times reported on Friday that the Japanese government had privately concluded the Games would have to be scrapped due to the pandemic, instead shifting their focus to securing the 2032 Games after Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.
"No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it's too difficult," a government source told The Times. "Personally, I don't think it's going to happen."
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However, the IOC joined the Japanese government in dismissing the report and speaking to Eurosport, a spokesman has now assured athletes they can look forward to the Games, which start on July 23.
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"You can get excited [for Tokyo 2020]. They will be amazing. It’s a bit of a cliché but we don’t have a Plan B," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told Eurosport.
"The world is a strange place at the moment and we never quite know from one day to the next what is happening. But we are as confident as we can be that these are happening.
We are full-ahead planning with our Japanese friends and partners. There’s no reason not to think they’ll happen.
Team GB chief '100% confident' Tokyo 2020 will happen this summer
The latest murmurings, and previous postponement, has fuelled uncertainty among athletes who fear being robbed of their Olympic dream.
And while the IOC did concede to Eurosport that in a worst-case scenario the event may not be able to welcome spectators from across the globe, it is working towards having a "proper, full Games" with a full quota of athletes.
"My message to them [the athletes] is this is going ahead," said Adams.
As far as we’re concerned, I can put my hand on my heart and tell you that we’re working full speed for a proper, full Games that people will love, [that will] bring people together and be a light at the end of the tunnel of this very dark moment.
Asked why the IOC weren't considering another postponement until 2022 – to buy more time to vaccinate the entire Olympic bubble – Adams continued:
"The Games will be ready for this year, so we don’t need to plan for another postponement or a cancellation. There’s no Plan B in our view that’s necessary. We will continue to work towards the Games this summer.
"Vaccination isn’t something we absolutely need. We can survive and put on events as you’ve seen. The Premier League is happening, there are other events around the world happening. Quite high-profile events.
"Vaccination clearly helps, clearly gives more confidence. You can have intensive testing, for example, as part of the toolkit in the Olympic Village. The villages are very specific, contained areas. There are all sorts of measures you can take which will be appropriate for the time.
"The reason we’re not looking at another year, or a cancellation, is because we do believe that they’re going to happen this summer."
Eurosport is an official broadcaster of the Olympic Games in the UK, and you can watch every moment on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
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