The postponed Tokyo Olympics will take place in the same venues and follow the original competition schedule, organizers announced Friday night.
“We have engaged with all concerned parties, especially venue owners, to secure the use of venues in 2021,” 2020 Games CEO Toshiro Muto said from Tokyo during the 136th IOC session, which was held online Friday.
The 2020 Olympics were delayed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will take place in 2021 from July 23 to Aug. 8. The Paralympics are scheduled for Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
“We’re talking also of re-securing the Olympic Village, which is being constructed by a consortia of 11 different developers in Tokyo,” said John Coates, chairman of the International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission. “They have agreed, as a matter of national significance, to put back the date when they take delivery of the village, put back the dates when they will be able to hand over sold apartments to the public or to those who have purchased them.
“This was a significant exercise.”
A revised competition schedule for next year’s games was also released Friday.
While the times of some events have been adjusted, the schedule mostly mirrors the one that would’ve been in place had the Olympics started later this month as planned.
“With the confirmation of the competition schedule, athletes are able to establish their training programs to target the exact days they will compete,” said Koji Murofushi, the 2004 hammer throw gold medalist and Tokyo 2020 sports director.
The games will kick off with softball on July 21, two days before the opening ceremony. The first medal — in women’s shooting 10-meter air rifle — will be handed out July 24. There are six more medal events scheduled for the same day.
With the pandemic that caused the delay still ongoing, organizers will move ahead with the full-scale planning of countermeasures next month.
“Tokyo 2020 is already working closely with the IOC and relevant domestic organizations via the All Partners Task Force, which also includes experts from the World Health Organization, to address this matter,” Muto said.
Monitoring the situation as fans return to sporting events in some parts of the world will likely be part of that effort. Earlier in the week, IOC President Thomas Bach said he was against an Olympics held behind closed doors.
“Sporting events, including (Japanese) professional baseball, resumed without spectators in late June,” Muto said. “As of last week, a limited number of spectators are now able to attend matches.
“International events in Olympic sports are to resume in autumn as well. We will observe these closely and expect that the COVID-19 countermeasures put in place will provide valuable insight for us.”
Tickets purchased in anticipation of the games taking place this year will still be valid in 2021. Those unwilling or unable to attend due to the delay can request refunds starting in autumn.
Additionally, Tokyo 2020 volunteers who wish to continue on in their roles will be given the same jobs and venue assignments next year.
With the one-year-to-go point fast approaching, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said there was no extravagant celebration planned to mark the occasion.
“I think we should refrain from that kind of thing,” Mori said. “That was the idea from the very beginning since the postponement was decided.”
The Tokyo 2020 team participated in Friday’s IOC session via video from Japan, while Bach and other IOC members did the same from other parts of the world.
“On the one hand, we are definitely making history by holding the first-ever IOC session via video conference,” Bach said. “One the other hand, the fact that we cannot meet in person is itself a reflection of the unprecedented situation we are all facing because of the global coronavirus crisis.”
Bach also used the meeting to announce his intention to run for another term as IOC president.
“If you, the IOC members, want, I’m ready to run for a second term as IOC president and to continue to serve you and this Olympic movement, which we all love so much, for another four years,” he said.