If Japan doesn’t think it can open and support the Olympics in Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Florida is making it known they are welcome to move the games to the Sunshine State this summer.
The invitation was extended in a letter sent Monday by Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis. In his letter, Patronis stated Florida is willing to host the event after reports surfaced that the Japanese government might cancel the games after a one-year delay because of coronavirus concerns. The games are set to begin in Tokyo on July 23.
“Whatever precautions are required, let’s figure it out and get it done,” Patronis wrote in the letter to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.
In response, the Japanese government has called any reports of the games being canceled to be “categorically untrue,” but did point out that the entire nation of Japan and its 126-million people has recorded a smaller number of COVID-19 cases and deaths when compared to the state of Florida and its 21-million people.
As of Wednesday, John Hopkins University reported 372,545 COVID-19 cases and 5,298 deaths in the entire nation of Japan, compared to the 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and 25,293 deaths in Florida.
According to Tampa Bay Times, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said they had not received Patronis’ letter, but referred to a statement released last Friday stating the IOC “is committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo this year.”
According to News4Jax, Partronis pitched that Florida allowed sports during the pandemic, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Jacksonville and NBA games in Orlando. The NCAA college football championship was held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, and the Super Bowl will take place in Tampa.
“Additionally, our international tourist destinations, like Disney parks, have been open and operating safely in Florida for some time,” wrote Patronis, who is a statewide elected officer. “In fact, Disney serves as an incredible model for how to run a complex organization in the midst of COVID-19.”
Tampa Bay Times reported that Patronis’ letter did not include details on how much bringing the games to Florida would cost and who would pay for it.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that Patronis doesn’t think hosting the Olympics would require a sizable investment. “Japan has made the bulk of their investments anticipating an event for a pre-pandemic world,” he said in a prepared statement. “Since the virus hit, many sports have become predominantly televised events. Moreover, with all of the sports facilities across the state, Florida can successfully deliver an Olympic event to the world for little-to-no cost.”
If the plan were to work, it would mark the 10th time the United States has hosted the Olympic games.
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