The Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in 2021 'with or without Covid,' the International Olympic Committee vice president said today.
The Olympics has never been cancelled outside of the world wars and John Coates vowed that the competition in Japan would be the 'Games that conquered Covid.'
'It will take place with or without Covid. The Games will start on July 23 next year,' said Coates, head of the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games.
'The Games were going to be the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami,' he said, referring to a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in 2011.
'Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.'
In a landmark decision, the 2020 Olympics was postponed because of the global march of the pandemic. The Games are now set to open on July 23, 2021.
But Japan's borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors and a vaccine is months or even years away, feeding speculation about whether the Games are feasible at all.
Japanese officials have made clear they would not delay the event a second time beyond 2021.