Amid swirling reports that the coronavirus pandemic is threatening Japan’s ability to host the 2020 Olympics, which were already moved to 2021, Florida officials are pushing for the Sunshine State to become the replacement host for the marquee sporting spectacle.
Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis sent a letter Monday to the International Olympic Committee offering up Florida as an ideal place to hold the upcoming Olympics, which were supposed to be held in Tokyo last year but were postponed to this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patronis referenced recent reports that the Japanese government has concluded the Summer Olympics need to be canceled because of coronavirus concerns.
“Whatever precautions are required let’s figure it out and get it done,” he wrote to Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee.
The Japanese government, however, has called reports that it is canceling the games “categorically untrue.”
In an email to the Tampa Bay Times, the IOC’s media team wrote that Patronis’ letter had not yet been received. They referenced a statement issues Friday that the committee is “committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”
After officials postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics as the pandemic surged across the world, competition was set to start on July 23.
Patronis mentioned in his pitch to the IOC that Florida has been able to hold sporting events during the pandemic, including NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL games. The college football national championship was held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, while Super Bowl 2021 is scheduled to take place in Tampa on Feb. 7.
“Additionally, our international tourist destinations, like Disney parks have been open and operating safely in Florida for some time,” Patronis wrote. “In fact, Disney serves as an incredible model for how to run a complex organization in the midst of COVID-19.”
Should Patronis succeed in bringing the Olympic Games to Florida, it would be the 10th time they were held in the United States and the first time in Florida.