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

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

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. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
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

Most Read