Organizers from the IOC and Tokyo Olympic have decided to push the Tokyo Games to 2021.
It will be the first time in history that the launch of an Olympics has been delayed to another year. The Opening Ceremony, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, will not be held on July 24 as planned but on an undetermined 2021 date.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the [World Health Organization] 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,” read a joint statement from the IOC as well as the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
“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. 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.”
The announcement comes 2 days after Thomas Bach, IOC President, had revealed that a detailed discussion had begun to assess the coronavirus’ impact on the Olympics. The scope also included considering the scenario of postponement but not outright cancellation.
Bach said on Sunday that there are “many, many challenges” in the process of planning different Olympic scenarios.
“A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore,” he wrote in a letter addressed to athletes. “The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted.”