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Report: The Tokyo Olympics will go on in 2021 “with or without COVID-19”

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It may not be ideal, but Pop’s dream of coaching the Olympic team will come true.

2019 FIBA World Cup: Classification 7-8: USA v Poland Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

One of the many losses the COVID-19 outbreak has brought to 2020 is the Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed to July 23, 2021. While it is way to early to speculate on whether anything so far away will still take place, the Olympics is the largest sports gathering in the world and brings more people together from more places than any other event.

As of now, Olympic officials have zero plans to change or cancel the event again regardless of anything. Per the Kyodo News, International Olympic Committee and head of the IOC’s coordination commission, Vice President John Coates recently stated that the games “will take place with or without COVID” as planned next summer. That was followed up with by Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto stating she believes the games need to be held at any cost.

“All the people involved with the games are working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts toward next year under the circumstances they’ve been handed.

“I think we have to hold the games at any cost. I want to concentrate all our efforts on measures against the coronavirus.”

Also, last week Director General/CEO of the Japanese Organizing Committee for the Olympics Toshiro Muto stated that an available vaccine is not a requirement for the games to go on in 2021. A Japanese government panel has been tasked with formulating steps to counter the coronavirus pandemic and will submit a report on issues including “easing travel restrictions for foreign athletes, anti-virus measures at the athletes’ village and games’ venues, steps to be taken against infections and how to handle spectators.”

It sounds like even if it’s in another fanless, Bubble-esque environment, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will finally get a chance to fulfill his dream of coaching the US Men’s National Team at the Olympics. After being snubbed as a player in 1970 and as a coach by Jerry Colangelo back 15 years ago — in a move many believed was a result of the heated Spurs / Suns rivalry of the mid-2000’s — Pop finally got his chance when he was named head coach in 2015.

He likely felt snubbed again when the usual stars left him with a young, C-level squad for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, resulting a disappointing-but-still-enough-to-qualify 7th place finish, and COVID-19 may have been enough to make anyone else give up, but not Pop. Even if it’s not the dream scenario he envisioned, he will get his chance if the IOC and Ministry of Japan has anything to say about it.