WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will push through in 2021 to safeguard the health of all participants amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Prior to the postponement, event officials were thinking to proceed in the attempt to have the Games serve as “a beacon of hope to the world.”
- The International Olympic Committee is working on a plan on how to proceed in the coming weeks given the delay.
Olympians have to wait. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will push through in 2021 as agreed by Japan and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) — marking the fourth postponement in the history of modern Olympics. The three other rescheduled games were due to World War I and World War II.
The delay, which was confirmed on Tuesday, came after multiple deliberations between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach.
“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 not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” a joint statement from Bach and Abe disclosed.
Prior to the deferral, the Olympics was set to proceed in the hope of serving as a good distraction against the terrible effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, but officers have prioritized the health of all participants.
“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 present,” Bach and Abe said in the statement.
Dick Pound, IOC member, told USA Today that a plan will be initiated to organize the committee’s workaround for the next four weeks as the Games will likely be pushed to 2021.
Anita DeFrantz, IOC Vice President, reacted to Pound’s announcement, saying that she had not heard about it. “If that is the case, then you know more than a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee… It would be news to me.”
After conducting a survey among 1,780 athletes, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) issued a formal statement on Monday night to officially request the IOC to postpone the Games.
With the continuous spread of the coronavirus and official restrictions on large gatherings, IOC released a statement on a potential delay in mid-March — bringing speculations in the recent weeks that the Games will be postponed. On Monday, Canada and Australia have already withdrawn from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in compliance with health measures.
The coronavirus has already caused major disruptions to US athletes and other major sports organizations, including NBA, NHL, MLS and MLB. Olympians’ training and preliminary qualifying events were put on hold. Recently, USA groups for track and field, and swimming called for the postponement of the games.