A woman poses for a selfie in front of Olympic rings at Odaiba waterfront in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. The postponed Tokyo Games are scheduled to open on July 23. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

A woman poses for a selfie in front of Olympic rings at Odaiba waterfront in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. The postponed Tokyo Games are scheduled to open on July 23. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Top Florida official makes pitch for Tokyo Olympics to be moved there, despite pandemic

Japanese government says reports that it is considering canceling the games ‘categorically untrue’

By Skyler Swisher, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida’s chief financial officer wants the Olympics to be moved from Tokyo to the Sunshine State, promoting Florida’s willingness to host marquee sporting events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CFO Jimmy Patronis sent a letter Monday to the International Olympic Committee touting Florida as an ideal place to hold the Olympics. He referenced reports that the Japanese government has concluded the Summer Olympics will need to be canceled because of coronavirus concerns.

“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.

The Japanese government, though, has called reports that it is considering canceling the games “categorically untrue.”

In an email, the International Olympic Committee’s media team wrote that Patronis’ letter had not been received and referred to a statement issued on Friday that the committee is “committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”

Officials postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics as the new coronavirus spread across the globe. Competition is now set to start on July 23.

Organizers said the cost of the Tokyo Olympics is at least $15.4 billion with an audit by the Japanese government putting the cost even higher at $25 billion, The Associated Press reported. Patronis’ letter did not include details on much it would cost to move the event to Florida and who would pay for it.

Patronis noted in his pitch 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.”

Japan — a nation of 126 million people — has recorded a much smaller number of COVID-19 deaths and infections than Florida, which is home to 21 million people.

As of Monday, Japan has reported 365,899 COVID-19 cases and 5,119 deaths, compared with Florida’s more than 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and 25,293 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

If Patronis is successful, it would be the 10th time the Olympic Games have been held in the United States and the first time in Florida.

READ MORE: For Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, 2020 a year of conviction and frustration


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusOlympicsTokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

From left: Councillor Lucy Taylor, Councillor Barry Banford, Councillor Bill Haring, Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Councillor Lynne Frizzle, Councillor Lyle Mckenzie and Councillor Shelley Sim. (District of Clearwater photo)
Council to consider raising taxes in 2021

The District of Clearwater council is considering a tax increase this year… Continue reading

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read