Tokyo Olympics may not have a plan to tackle coronavirus, man behind five winning bids warns, amid fears Games may have to be cancelled

Thursday, February 27, 2020
By Paul Martin

Tokyo Olympics is due to kick off in July having cost $12.6billion to organise
But the whole project is now at risk as the world grapples with coronavirus
Terrence Burns – who helped plan bids for two summer and three winter Olympics – says he has never seen a bid committee asked to plan for a pandemic
Japan says games will go ahead, but torch relay due in March may be downsized

27 February 2020

Tokyo Olympic organisers may not have planned for what to do in the case of a global disease outbreak, the man behind five successful bids has warned.

Terrence Burns, who worked on winning bids for two summer and three winter Olympics, said the bid committees are not typically asked to explain what they would do in case of a pandemic.

It comes after questions were raised over whether the Tokyo Olympics – which cost $12.6billion – will be able to go ahead amid the spread of coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation admits has the potential to become a pandemic.

While disaster planning is part of the bid process, Mr Burns said, typical scenarios that bid cities are question on include what to do in case of a natural disaster, fire or terror attack.

‘I’ve never seen an Olympic organising committee ask: “Are you prepared for a global pandemic?”,’ he told the New York Times.

Mr Burns, CEO of the TBurns Sports Group, worked as the lead brand and marketing strategist for the Beijing 2008 and Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympic bids.

He also worked on the Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics bids, along with two World Cup bids.

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