International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound has all but given his assurance that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will go ahead, despite ongoing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Standard Sport, Pound said it was full steam ahead with the Games, which is expected to bring in a total of 78,000 athletes, staff and media into Japan.
“I really don’t know what the issue is other than you’ve got a well-informed, scientific group in contact with public health, which they say that there’s no incremental risk going ahead with the Games to the Japanese,” Pound.
“The people coming for the large measure will be vaccinated, will upon arrival be put in a bubble and kept in a bubble until they go back home.
“Organisers have now changed gears and they’re in the operational part of it. Barring Armageddon that we can’t see or anticipate, these things are a go.”
The IOC has already banned international spectators from attending, with a decision on Japanese fans set to come soon.
Pound pointed to all of the other international sporting events that have taken place in recent months as a precedent for the Olympics to operate in a COVID world.
“All around the world – and I’m sure they can study the instances of what’s possible – it’s pretty clear that in football matches, golf, basketball and other sports like cycling, you can have some spectators without difficulty,” he said.
Pound’s confidence comes amid reports the Japanese public are opposed to the Games going ahead.
A survey earlier this year by Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun Daily found 43 per cent of people in Japan want the Games cancelled, and 40 per cent want a further postponement.
Around five per cent of the total Japanese population has been vaccinated against COVID.
In Australia, local broadcast partner Seven recently revealed that 70 per cent of Aussies are interested in the Tokyo Olympics.
Seven West Media chief revenue officer and director of Olympics, Kurt Burnette, said: “The Olympic Games are more than sport. They represent passion, pride, community, achievement, positivity and the world coming together – and there is no bigger or more significant cultural event this decade than the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.