IOC reportedly hopes to reschedule Olympics in midsummer 2021

David Wharton
People in Tokyo walk past a sign promoting the now postponed Summer Games.  (AFP via Getty Images)

Though the head of the International Olympic Committee has preached the need for flexibility in rescheduling the 2020 Tokyo Games, one of his top aides is pointing at a conventional date in the summer of 2021.

John Coates told the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri on Thursday that his IOC coordination commission, working closely with Tokyo organizers, hopes to create an opening in July-August.

“We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” Coates was quoted as saying.

Olympic leaders must forge an agreement that involves Japanese officials, international sports federations and television broadcasters, among others.

The midsummer slot would fit neatly between two Grand Slam tournaments in tennis — Wimbledon and the U.S. Open — but would conflict with major events in other sports. Swimming is scheduled to begin its world championships on July 16 with track following in the second week of August.

Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement that the Olympics would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the international track federation said it had already begun discussing a shift with organizers in Eugene, Ore., where its championships will be held.

Swimming officials issued a similar statement. The sport’s federation said it would speak with organizers of the 2021 world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, “to determine flexibility around the dates of the competition, if necessary and in agreement with the IOC.”

The Tokyo Games were originally scheduled to begin July 24. Earlier this week, IOC President Thomas Bach said they might not be rescheduled in summer.

“All the options are on the table,” Bach told reporters.