Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially postponed until 2021
After weeks of speculation that the Games would not proceed as scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021 on Tuesday.
The International Olympic Committee made the decision after speaking with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers.
According to the IOC, the Games will be held no later than the summer of 2021 but they will be call the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but no later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” said the IOC in a statement.
The IOC had given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying the Games but there had been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees and athletes demanding a quicker decision.
Canada was the first major country to withdraw from both events on Sunday while USA Track and Field, athletic’s US Governing body, had also called for a postponement.
International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parson said the postponement was “the only logical option”.
The Olympics have never been delayed in the 124-year modern history, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during World War One and World War Two.
Major Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles summer Games in 1980 and 1984.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers said they hope the decision to postpone will help the world heal from the pandemic.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at the present,” the IOC statement said. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”