Tokyo 2020 Olympics formally postponed till 2021

By no means earlier than had the Olympic Video games been postponed or canceled for one thing aside from conflict, however hardly ever has the world come to a grinding halt the way in which it has over the novel coronavirus.

What felt just like the final main sporting occasion untouched by the present pressure of the coronavirus — identified formally as COVID-19 — the 2020 Olympics served as a glimmer of hope for the complete globe. However on Tuesday, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Worldwide Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by about one yr.

The opening ceremony had been deliberate for July 24.

Regardless of the postponement, the Summer time Olympics — after they ultimately occur — will nonetheless be known as the Olympic and Paralympic Video games Tokyo 2020. The Olympic flame can even stay saved and displayed in Fukushima.

“[T]he IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Video games … have to be rescheduled to a date past 2020 however not later than summer time 2021, to safeguard the well being of the athletes, everyone concerned within the Olympic Video games and the worldwide neighborhood,” stated a joint assertion by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC.

In line with the assertion, the World Well being Group had consulted with each events on Tuesday about what it known as the “accelerating” pandemic. There at the moment are greater than 390,000 confirmed instances of COVID-19 worldwide, with greater than 17,000 deaths. Almost each nation has been impacted.

The choice comes lower than 48 hours after the IOC stated it was giving itself 4 weeks to decide concerning the Olympics. Because the coronavirus continued to unfold in latest weeks, Bach and members of Japan’s authorities insisted the Video games might go ahead. Sunday’s assertion was the primary on-the-record acknowledgement {that a} postponement might truly occur.

Stress from nations and athletes alike mounted in latest days, and most not too long ago, Canada stated it could not ship representatives to the Olympics with no delay. Australia later joined in that call.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee despatched a survey over the weekend to greater than 4,000 American Olympics hopefuls, and almost seven in 10 respondents stated they did not assume the Video games could be honest if held in July. Germany and Poland had additionally known as for the Video games to be delayed.

“Regardless of the sensation of eventuality that so many people have felt within the lead as much as this second — my coronary heart breaks for you, your fellow athletes world wide, our mates at Tokyo 2020, the folks of Japan, and all who’re impacted by this international pandemic and the choice to postpone the Tokyo Video games 2020,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter to the athletes.

“We heard your issues and we shared them. I thanks for being so forthcoming together with your views, and in addition for permitting us the time to listen to out of your teammates throughout all sports activities earlier than making a suggestion to the IOC.”

The Olympics had by no means been rescheduled for one thing aside from conflict. In 1916, 1940 and 1944, the Video games had been canceled due to the world wars.

Along with the influence on the athletes whose lives have now been upended by the choice, the monetary influence might be staggering. The organizers of Tokyo 2020 estimated the price to be roughly $12.6 billion, whereas different specialists have put that determine nearer to $25 billion. The delay can even influence the billions spent by sponsors and broadcasters.

The IOC and Tokyo organizers stated they hope the choice to postpone will assist the world heal from the pandemic.

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Video games in Tokyo might stand as a beacon of hope to the world throughout these troubled instances and that the Olympic flame might turn out to be the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel wherein the world finds itself at current,” the IOC assertion stated.

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