PARIS (Reuters) – The 2024 Paris Olympics will go ahead as scheduled regardless of the fate of this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo amid the COVID-19 crisis, the French organising committee said on Wednesday.
Last week, Japan and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommitted to holding the Olympics this year, denying a British media report that the government had privately concluded the Games would have to be cancelled.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, the world of sport has been adapting. Of course, the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics will only organise the Games if the conditions allow it,” Paris Games chief Tony Estanguet told French daily Le Monde.
“They have worked on different solutions to adapt to this sanitary context, with or without fans, the setting up of tests and a bubble system. Everything has been thought out so that these Games can be held with a very high level of health security.”
As Japan declared a state of emergency following a record number of COVID-19 cases earlier this month, British four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent called for the Tokyo Games, already postponed by a year, to be held in 2024.
Estanguet insisted the Paris Olympics would not be moved.
“If I stick to the discussions with the IOC, I don’t have the impression that there will be another postponement,” he explained.
“The impact for Paris 2024 is nevertheless quite limited, we have our own calendar. For the past year, we haven’t been impacted by the postponement.
“Our Games will go well in 2024, whatever happens in Tokyo. I fervently hope, like many, that these Games will take place because it will create a strong dynamic – particularly with the handover ceremony – but Paris 2024 is not linked to Tokyo’s destiny.”
The IOC is due to hold an executive board meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)