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Florida makes bid for Olympics if Tokyo backs out

Florida is offering to host the 2021 Summer Olympics amid speculation that Tokyo may back out of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a Monday letter to the International Olympic Committee, Florida's chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, laid out the state's case for hosting 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. 

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Patronis touted Florida’s growing population and rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in making the offer. 

“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 wrote. 

He also promoted Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisTop Florida Democrat calls on FBI to investigate DeSantis over vaccine distribution Rick Scott caught in middle of opposing GOP factions Florida Keys enclave, home to political donors, received COVID-19 vaccine as rest of state struggled MORE's efforts to keep Florida's economy open while fighting COVID-19. The state has not enacted as many restrictions and lockdowns as other states have seen. 

Florida currently has the fourth-most deaths from the coronavirus in the United States, while California, which has had many coronavirus restrictions, has the second-most. 

Patronis bragged about Florida’s ability to host NBA and NFL games and UFC events successfully during the pandemic. He described the opening of Disney World, an international tourist attraction, as “an incredible model for how to run a complex organization in the midst of COVID-19.”

He added that Florida has the transportation infrastructure, hotels and health care facilities needed to take on such a major event. 

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A state of emergency was called in Japan on Jan. 13 after the country passed 300,000 coronavirus cases. Tokyo, where the Olympics are scheduled to begin in July, has been a hot spot for cases since the pandemic started. 

The World Health Organization said on Monday that Olympic athletes should not take priority for the coronavirus vaccine and that it should be saved for the elderly and frontline workers. 

“Whatever precautions are required let’s figure it out and get it done,” Patronis said.