Florida has offered to step in and host the 2021 Olympics if Tokyo, Japan, backs out over pandemic fears.
Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, made public a letter he sent to the International Olympic Committee on Monday asking for the Sunshine State to be considered for the games.
“Today, I am writing to encourage you to consider relocating the 2021 Olympics from Tokyo, Japan to the United States of America, and more specifically to Florida,” Patronis wrote in the letter posted to the state’s website.
Patronis included in his sales pitch that Florida’s economy is already open and that Florida has launched a comprehensive vaccination program.
“Unlike other states, when the COVID-19 vaccine comes to Florida, it doesn’t just sit on the shelf wrapped in government red tape; it moves fast to protect our communities,” Patronis said.
Patronis also pointed out that the UFC, the NBA, and NFL all hosted games and events in his state during the pandemic. He described the opening of Disney World as “an incredible model for how to run a complex organization in the midst of COVID-19.”
“As a tourism state, Florida welcomed 131 million tourists in 2019. Our state has ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation networks to accommodate the kind of infrastructure required for a major undertaking of this sort. Florida has 20 commercial airports, 31 urban transit systems, 12 major universities that have existing sporting facilities – and we have world-renowned health care facilities in each of our regions. I think most importantly, however, we have a state with leaders who are willing to get this done,” he wrote.
Florida is also home to an extensive transportation network and the hotels and health care facilities necessary for a significant event such as the Olympics, Patronis added.
Florida stands ready for “Whatever precautions are required, let’s figure it out and get it done,” Patronis said.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency was called in Japan on Jan. 13 as the country reached 300,000 coronavirus cases. The games are still scheduled to begin in July, but Tokyo remains Japan’s COVID-19 hotspot.
With the virus still raging, there have been many voices calling for the games to be postponed again. However, despite these calls, the IOC continues to plan for the games to be carried off in Tokyo.
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