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.

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

Just Posted

Shuswap Search and Rescue volunteers were on Owlhead to retrieve a couple who called for help after one of their sleds became stuck on Tuesday, March 2, 2020. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook photo)
Shuswap Search and Rescue retrieve couple from Owlhead

Call for help made after sled became stuck

Shuswap Adventure Girl Sarah Tokarek has a particular passion for hiking trails around Blind Bay and the South Shuswap. (Contributed)
Shuswap mom helps others find their own outdoor adventures

Sarah Tokarek is Shuswap Adventure Girl, an online trail guide for the region

Protesters stood outside the Vernon Courts Thursday, March 4, 2021, as a Curtis Wayne Sagmoen matter came before the courts once again. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
UPDATE: Sagmoen to make plea in two weeks for cop assault charge

The offence allegedly took place on Oct. 29 in Spallumcheen

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Salmon Arm Council will be considering on March 10, 2021 approval of the placing of a notice warning of building bylaw infractions on a local property. (File photo)
City of Salmon Arm takes action on reported building bylaw infractions

If final approval given by council, notice will alert prospective buyers to outstanding issues

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

The man currently being sought by Oliver RCMP in connection to an assault and robbery at the BC Cannabis Store in Oliver. If you know the identity of the man, the RCMP would like to know. (RCMP)
South Okanagan police looking for man accused in robbery and assault at pot shop

The man allegedly assaulted an employee at the BC Cannabis Store

(Government of B.C.)
School bus fees are being charged to all riders in the Vernon School District. (Courtesy photo)
Parents pressure Vernon school board to curb bus fee hike

More than 1,200 signatures on petition against $200 rider fees, to be discussed at board meeting

(Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at two Kelowna schools

Pearson Road Elementary, Rutland Senior Secondary confirm one case of the virus at each school

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

(Courtesy of West Kelowna Fire Rescue)
UPDATE: West Kelowna firefighter injured in structure fire released from hospital

Crews arrived at the Ponderosa Rd. home to find the rear of the building engulfed in flames

Most Read