International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound cast some doubt and expressed uncertainty in his belief of whether the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will be held amid rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.
"I can't be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus," Pound said, per the BBC.
COVID-19 cases have spiked in recent weeks in Japan and resulted in new coronavirus protocols in Tokyo. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ordered a state of emergency until February after 2,447 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday.
Pound is advocating for Olympic athletes to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible ahead of the 2021 games.
IOC president Thomas Bach has encouraged athletes to get the vaccine before the Olympics, though it is unlikely to be required for participation in Tokyo.
"There will be people saying they are jumping the queue, but I think that is the most realistic way of it going ahead," Pound said, per the CBC in Canada. "To take 300 or 400 vaccines out of several million in order to have Canada represented at an international event of this stature, character and level — I don't think there would be any kind of a public outcry about that."
The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are slated to begin on July 23. Participating athletes must arrive in Tokyo at least five days prior to their competitions and will be required to leave within 48 hours of their final event.