Tokyo Olympics Will Take Place in 2021 'With or Without' COVID,' According to IOC VP

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo will not be pushed back again even if the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on next summer. International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates spoke to news agency AFP about the Olympics and said the start date is Jul. 23, 2021. Originally, the Olympics were set to begin in July of this year but were postponed due to the pandemic.

"It will take place with or without COVID," Coates said while also adding the 2021 Olympics will be the "games that conquered COVID." The IOC said earlier the Olympic Games would not be delayed beyond 2021. And for the event, Coates told the AFP: "The Games were going to be their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami. "Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel."

Back in April, Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said it's possible the Games may not happen in 2021 if the coronavirus pandemic is still happening. "I don't think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not," he said at a news conference. "We're certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer." He also said if the Olympics could not be held in 2021, it would have to have canceled.

With the Olympic Games being pushed back a year, athletes have had to make adjustments. USA Softball star Valerie Arioto recently sat down with PopCulture.com about competing in the Olympics for the first time in her career. She was disappointed about the Games being delayed but using the extra time to be the best player possible.

"I was initially devastated, but I understood the situation," Arioto said. "We were on the road when we got sent home because of COVID-19 in March. It was funny because at first, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I've been waiting so long for this.' I reframed it as 'I'm going to take that first part of tour [training January and February] and try to adjust for this next year of training to get better. Luckily for us, softball already qualified for the Olympics." This is the first time in the history the Olympic Games the event was postponed rather than canceled.