Florida’s chief financial officer has been widely panned after writing to the IOC about taking the 2021 Olympics from Tokyo.
Jimmy Patronis has called on the International Olympic Committee to consider relocating the 2021 Games to the Sunshine State amid speculation that Tokyo organisers may back out as hosts due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Tokyo organisers have vowed to press ahead with the re-scheduled Games, which are due to open on July 23 after being postponed for a year because of the novel coronavirus.
But Patronis has offered an alternative option.
“There is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida to meet with statewide and local officials on holding the Olympics in the Sunshine State,” Patronis said in a letter sent this week to IOC President Thomas Bach.
“I would welcome the opportunity to pitch Florida and help you make the right contacts to get this done.”
But given all the planning and preparations necessary to host an Olympics, it is virtually impossible to relocate the event within six months of the scheduled opening ceremony.
In his letter, Patronis drew attention to what he called the strength of the state's vaccination roll-out along with Florida holding several sporting events, including the entirety of last year's NBA playoffs, during the pandemic.
Florida's death toll from the novel coronavirus has topped 25,000. The cumulative death toll from the virus in Japan topped 5,000 over the weekend.
“Whatever precautions are required let’s figure it out and get it done,” wrote Patronis.
Backlash over America’s ‘absurd’ Olympics proposal
However Patronis’ proposal went down like a lead balloon among the Olympics community.
Veteran Olympics correspondent Nick Zaccardi tweeted: “The absurd Florida Olympics story reaches the White House.”
Economist Victor Matheson told Huffington Post the proposal is “absolutely crazy” and “mind-bogglingly stupid”.
“Let’s be honest here: If Tokyo is not safe enough due to COVID to host the event, there’s no way in a million years, Florida is safe enough to host the event,” he said.
“It simply means that Tokyo actually cares about whether they want a mass super-spreader event in their city while Florida doesn’t.”
Fellow economist Andrew Zimbalist said the ideo was “bonkers”.
“This is an idiotic, delusional, uninformed, ignorant Florida politician trying to put his name out there,” Zimbalist said.
“And whether or not he himself believes this can be done, I don’t know. It’s got no chance. It’s just stupid.”
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