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No COVID Vaccine, No 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

An expert made rounds late last week for saying that no Tokyo Olympics will take place in 2021 unless a COVID vaccine is discovered. It worried a lot of athletes, small businesses, and Olympics enthusiasts. But what is the truth?

In a TV interview, Osaka University professor and vaccine researcher Yoshiharu Matsuura said that there’s only one way for the already rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics to happen before autumn next year. And that’s if a COVID vaccine will be successfully put to use.

Matsuura is one of the researchers at the university’s Research Foundation for Microbial Disease who’s working on a vaccine against coronavirus. At the moment, their vaccine is still in the pre-clinical stages.

Government’s Decisions

Although Matsuura’s claim is valid, we still have to wait for the official statement of the government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) whether to postpone, cancel, or push through the event. According to reports, Japan might be able to come up with a decision by October or November.

Critics have pointed out Japan’s intentions to come up with a COVID vaccine as soon as it can, saying that they are doing it for the Olympics. This, however, is false. The government has been hard at work to develop a vaccine so it can finally reduce or stop the increasing number of coronavirus cases.

The original date of the 2020 Summer Olympics was July 24 to August 9, 2020, but it was canceled due to the global coronavirus crisis. The decision to postpone the schedule to 2021 was made to protect the health of the athletes and all the stakeholders of the Olympic Games. Per the latest official schedule, it will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021 — no later than summer 2021.

Olympics at Risk

The IOC has shown interest in canceling the Olympics if it’s being pushed back again after 2021. While a COVID vaccine would be phenomenal, it sure is not the be-all and end-all for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics to happen. With the right plan and strategy, there’s a bigger chance that it will happen in 2021.

Millions of tickets have already been sold to spectators. IOC organizers have made sure that refunds will be implemented if the events will not take place.

Testing Tokyo Olympic Stadium

Meanwhile, Japan’s top athletes are putting the new 60,000-seat Tokyo Olympic stadium to the test, though the exterior is still undergoing construction.

Japanese Olympic organizers have yet to decide on the details for the 2021 Summer Olympics, including the number of spectators to allow.


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