Could the Summer Olympics be returning to London already?
A candidate for London’s upcoming mayoral elections is asking Olympics officials to consider relocating the 2020 games to the British capital -- where they were held just eight years ago -- if the deadly coronavirus forces Tokyo to abandon its hosting duties.
“London can host the #Olympics in 2020,” Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate, wrote on Twitter. “We have the infrastructure and the experience. And due to the #coronavirus outbreak, the world might need us to step up.”
"Given the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, I urge the Olympic Committee to seriously consider how London could stand ready to host the Olympics should the need arise," he added in a statement to CityAM Magazine.
As of Thursday, the virus now known as COVID-19 has infected more than 75,000 people and has killed more than 2,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Tokyo 2020 organizers say they are working to stop the virus’s spread, although it has already led to the postponement of some sporting events in Asia. There is no current plan to relocate the games.
“Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and we will review any countermeasures that may be necessary,” officials said in a statement obtained by Reuters.
The modern Olympic Games, dating from 1896, have only been canceled during wartime, and in 1980 and 1984 they went on with boycotts.
Reuters reported Bailey is trailing current London mayor Sadiq Khan in opinion polls. The election is set for May 7.