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Veteran sportscaster Bob Costas says the Tokyo Olympics should be postponed.
Appearing on Friday’s episode of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the Emmy award-winning host said that the Games should still go on, but at a later date.
The Games “should be postponed, not canceled,” he told Maher.
“If they postponed it until the summer of 2022, then as a one-off it would go back to the way it was prior to the ’90s,” Costas said, noting that both the winter and summer used to take place every four years, in the same calendar year. After 1994, they changed into an every-two-years cycle.
However, Costas continued, “you’ve got to understand that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) holds all the cards.”
Maher replied saying that, “every time I see their name in a headline, it’s something shady.”
Costas, who was the main voice behind NBC’s Olympics broadcasts from 1988 to 2016, said that the host wasn’t wrong in thinking that.
“They have an affinity for authoritarian regimes. They’ll be back in Beijing for the Winter Olympics. They were in Sochi (Russia) in 2014. They were in Beijing in 2008,” he said.
The 69-year-old New York City-native noted that broadcasting such sports events required “a particularly difficult tightrope walk for NBC,” which has to work with these authoritarian regimes.
“Unlike other entities that cover it, the network that carries the Olympics or any sports event has invested a lot of money in the rights. And they want people to feel good about watching it,” said Costas, whose new show “Back on the Record with Bob Costas” will premiere on HBO later this spring
“But my feeling always was, you have to at least acknowledge the elephants in the room. I tried as best I could to tug on the other end of that rope. But they were always very very touchy about offending the IOC,” he added.
Originally planned for July and August 2020, the Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed early last year. The multi-sport event is now scheduled to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 — with no spectators from overseas.
Earlier this week, one of Japan’s largest newspapers called for the cancellation of the Games.
It is “simply beyond reason to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer,” the Asahi Shimbun wrote in an explosive editorial published Wednesday.
The announcement could potentially further complicate matters for the COVID-19-era Olympics, which are set to open in less than two months.
Besides being one of the oldest newspapers in Asia, the Asahi is one of the country’s four major dailies. With a reported morning circulation of 5.16 million, and 1.55 million for its evening edition, it is the country’s — and the world’s — second-largest circulating newspaper.
The paper, which according to The Associated Press is seen as a liberal-leaning publication that often opposes the prime minister’s ruling party, is also a sponsor of the Games.