Cherry blossom Olympics: Could Tokyo 2020 delay beat the heat?
Published on: Sunday, March 29, 2020
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People at a trial of fake snow in Tokyo.
TOKYO: Every cloud has a silver lining and the devastating postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could hand organisers a heaven-sent opportunity to solve their other massive problem: the summer heat.

The historic decision to delay the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic gave Tokyo a wide range of options when rescheduling: the Games will be held “beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021.”

This leaves open the possibility of a spring Olympics when the weather in Tokyo is at its finest and removes at a stroke the worries about athletes and fans suffering in the brutal heat and humidity of Japan’s summer.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike confirmed the postponement had opened up this tantalising option—that would also give her the opportunity of reclaiming the marathon which before the postponement was shifted to the northern city of Sapporo over heat fears.

“Since we are in this situation, one idea is to have (the IOC) move the date to a time that is not hot,” she said.

She later added with a smile: “I think Tokyo would be good” to host the marathon if temperatures were less fierce.

IOC chief Thomas Bach himself has said rescheduling “is not restricted just to the summer months. All the options are on the table, before and including the summer of 2021.”

And it was clearly on the mind of Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori, even in the immediate aftermath of the crushing postponement.

“We are trying to set a new schedule to be done by the summer. It might be earlier... As a result, if the hottest part of the summer could be avoided, wouldn’t that be a happy thing,” he said just minutes after the postponement. 

Bach has described the unprecedented task of reorganising the world’s biggest sports event as a huge “jigsaw puzzle” and any rearranged date brings challenges.

A spring Olympics would clash with the end of the European football season, as well as the NBA playoffs and the early part of the baseball season in the US, noted Marcus Luer, CEO of sports branding firm Total Sports Asia. 


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