Australia Olympic Committee President John Coates is confident the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in July and August because organisers have designed a “custom-made Olympic bubble” to protect athletes and the Japanese people.
Questions have been raised about the viability of the Games, already postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Tokyo in a state of emergency as Japan continues to struggle to contain the virus.
A petition in Japan calling for Games to be cancelled has attracted more than 230,000 signatures in the past few days.
Mr Coates, the IOC’s public face for the Games as chair of the coordination commission, told the Australian Olympic Committee’s annual meeting the nation’s 484 athletes should prepare to travel north “for the experience of their lives.”
“The Tokyo Games will take place because every measure to protect the athletes and the Japanese people will be in place,” the AOC President said on Saturday.
“This is not proceed-at-all-costs [approach] for the IOC or the AOC; the rescheduled Games showed that. We have had expert advice that they can be designed safely.”
Mr Coates said the Olympians would still have to quarantine for 14 days and the AOC was arranging where the quarantine accommodation would be.
“We spent the first half of last year identifying all the worst-case scenarios, we spent the next six months through to now looking at the countermeasures that are necessary, we’re implementing those countermeasures.”
“They’ve all been countermeasures predicated on there being no vaccine so that situation’s improved – the Games are going ahead.”
Coates said the IOC had been “learning every day” since the start of the pandemic and the “book” of health requirements for all participants unveiled last week was “a guide for a safe and successful Games.”