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Florida Offers To Host Olympic Games If Japan Pulls Out

Florida Offers To Host Olympic Games If Japan Pulls Out

Florida has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the US, with a seven-day average of 11,000 new infections a day.

Jessica Lynch

Jessica Lynch

The US state of Florida has offered to host the 2021 Olympic Summer Games amid ongoing speculation that Tokyo could back out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan is currently experiencing a massive third wave of Covid-19 infections, with more than 3,000 cases detected in a single day.

It's caused many to wonder whether Tokyo, who has the highest number of cases by far, will be ready to host the Games by July. It's even lead to some putting up their hand to help Japan in its time of need.

Florida's chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, has penned a letter to the International Olympic Committee outlining their case for hosting the prestigious event.

"Today, I am writing to encourage you to consider relocating the 2021 Olympics from Tokyo, Japan to the United States of America, and more specifically to Florida," Patronis wrote.

The National Stadium, the main venue for Tokyo Olympics.

"With media reports of leaders in Japan 'privately' concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place, there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida.

"Unlike other states, when the COVID-19 vaccine comes to Florida it doesn't just sit on the shelf wrapped in government red tape; it moves fast to protect our communities."

However, given that there have been over 25,000 deaths so far in the state, with the US death toll nearing 420,000, it looks like the chances of the state hosting the Games are slim to none.

Florida is the third worst state in terms of Covid-19 infections, only being beaten by Texas and California. It has a seven-day average of more than 11,000 new cases every day.

Victor Matheson, an economist at Holy Cross and an expert on the economic impact of the Olympics, called Patronis' proposal 'crazy.'

"Let's be honest here: If Tokyo is not safe enough due to Covid to host the event, there's no way in a million years, Florida is safe enough to host the event," he said.

"It simply means that Tokyo actually cares about whether they want a mass superspreader event in their city while Florida doesn't.

"The idea that just because Florida has a lot of hotels that they could organise an entire Olympics event within six months is absolutely crazy," Matheson added.

Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College, another economist who has studied the political and economic costs of hosting the Olympic games, also called the idea of relocating the Games to Florida as 'bonkers'.

"Tokyo and Japan have spent about $35 billion to be able to host the games and they're not going to walk away from that," he added.

He added that Florida's heat and humidity in the months July and August would be incredibly uncomfortable for the athletes.

The unofficial 2021 Olympic Games logo.

"This is an idiotic, delusional, uninformed, ignorant Florida politician trying to put his name out there," Zimbalist said of Patronis.

"And whether or not he himself believes this can be done, I don't know. It's got no chance. It's just stupid."

A state of emergency was called in Japan on January 13 after the country surpassed 300,000 coronavirus cases.

Tokyo, where the Olympics are scheduled to begin in July, has been a hot spot for cases since the pandemic started, and previously the Games' original run in 2020 postponed until this year.

Last Friday, organisers for the Tokyo Games revealed they would be sticking to the planned dates of July 23 to August 8.

"I am determined to realise a safe and secure Tokyo Games as proof that mankind will have overcome the virus," said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Featured Image Credit: Creative Commons

Topics: SPORT, olympics, News