SYDNEY – The International Olympic Committee wants to keep the men’s marathon on the final day of the 2020 Tokyo Games and is considering flying athletes from Sapporo, where the race will be held, to the capital for the closing ceremony, John Coates, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, said Wednesday.
Men’s marathon medals have traditionally been presented at the closing ceremony, but the 2020 Games have been complicated by the IOC’s decision to move the athletic road race events to Sapporo to spare competitors from Tokyo’s severe heat.
Tokyo Games organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori last week said the men’s marathon would be held ahead of its scheduled date, owing to its relocation to Sapporo.
Coates said Wednesday, however, that “no final decision” had been made, but the IOC still wanted the event on the final day of the Olympics, which ends on Aug. 9, with medals to be presented at the closing ceremony along with those for the women’s race.
“We do want to have the presentation at the closing ceremony and we’d also like, for the first time ever, to have the presentation for the women’s marathon at the closing ceremony,” Coates said at a news conference in Sydney.
“There’s no final decision made at this stage but everyone should work on it being on the same date, but that’s not set in stone.”
Coates apologized for the “surprise” decision in October, saying the IOC was swayed by the disastrous IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha earlier in the month, where many runners failed to finish the women’s marathon held in extreme heat and humidity.