Are the Tokyo Olympics likely to go ahead and can you go?

Ray wants to tick going to the Olympics off his bucket list, but can he do it this year?

Q. Ray
Before COVID I was really excited about the prospect of ticking two items off my bucket list – attending an overseas Olympics and visiting Japan. Unfortunately, everything got turned on its head last year, but I would still like to do it if it is going ahead. I’m not sure I’ll be in good enough health to wait another three years to attend the Olympics in 2024 and I have already visited Paris multiple times. What is the latest on the likelihood that the Olympics will go ahead in Tokyo this year, will they be allowing spectators and do you think it will be possible to travel from Australia around July?

A. At this stage both the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo organisers are still pushing ahead with plans to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year, with the Olympics starting on 23 July.

The IOC has held discussions with all 206 national Olympic committees and all of the international federations and the athletes are still supportive of the games going ahead.

IOC president Thomas Bach acknowledged the difficulties posed by running the Olympics during the time of COVID.

“The organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as such, is already an extremely complex challenge. But this complexity is multiplied when it comes to organising a postponed Olympic Games for the first time ever, and this under the conditions of a pandemic,” Mr Bach said.

“This fight against the virus, as you all know from your personal circumstances, is a tough one. But we are fighting this fight for, and like, Olympic athletes. This means with full determination, with a will to win, with hard work every day, and with all the physical and mental strength we have.”

So, while all the organisers are keen to push ahead and everything sounds positive, it is also worth noting that Japan is still recording around 2000 new COVID cases per day currently and public sentiment in the country is very much against the idea of the games going ahead.

While organisers have yet to talk about the prospect of spectators being able to attend events in person, allowing around 10,000 athletes and 5000 coaches and officials into the country is already going to present a difficult political challenge, so chances of overseas visitors will be unlikely.

All of this will, of course, depend on the effectiveness of the vaccine and its rollout, but Australia’s health experts have already suggested overseas travel may not be on the agenda for all of this year, so it seems extremely unlikely you will be able to travel to Japan in July.

Have you ever attended an Olympics event overseas? What country did you visit? What event did you see?

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Written by Ben


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