Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed until Summer 2021 amid coronavirus crisis
Editor’s note: The article has been updated to reflect the latest events.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed until further notice, likely until 2021, Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told Christine Brennan of USA TODAY Sports on Monday.
On Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked for the Olympic games to be postponed until the summer of next year. Japan has managed to greatly contain the respiratory virus within its home soil, making postponement the reasonable route.
After his telephone talks with IOC President Bach, PM Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021. pic.twitter.com/ihe8To2g3R
— PM's Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO) March 24, 2020
Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, announced the decision only hours after IOC President Thomas Bach gave the committee four weeks to decide the best course of action amid the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading through the world.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in a phone interview. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Pound, a former Canadian Olympian who has been one of the most influential members of the IOC for decades, believes the committee will soon announce the next steps.
“It will come in stages,” said Pound. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
The Olympics would be the latest and most significant sporting event to feel the impact of the coronavirus.
Sporting leagues around the world have come to a halt due to this massive pandemic that threatens the lives of many around the globe. The NBA was the first United States-based league to close its doors, followed by others like Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, and many others. Every professional league in the country has suspended operations, making the postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo seem rather inevitable.
Recently Australia, Germany, Brazil, Norway, and Canada refused to send their athletes to compete, given the scale of this global pandemic and the potential effects of endangering competitors.
This would the first time in history in which the Olympic Games have been suspended, though they have been canceled during periods of war. The 1916 Summer Games were canceled due to World War I, much like the Summer and Winter Games in 1940 and 1944, due to World War II.