- The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are to be postponed by about a year, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the International Olympic Committee agreed Tuesday amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.
- “I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement,” Abe told reporters, according to the BBC.
- The IOC confirmed Abe’s announcement shortly afterward.
- The games are now scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021 – but will still be known as Tokyo 2020.
- A postponement of the games had looked likely for several days, and on Monday, Dick Pound, a Canadian IOC member, said it was certain the Olympics would not begin as scheduled on July 24.
- Some nations had already withdrawn from the games, citing both public and athlete health concerns.
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The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are to be postponed by about a year, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the International Olympic Committee agreed Tuesday amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.
Abe announced Tuesday that he and the IOC’s chairman, Thomas Bach, had agreed the games could not be held this year because of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, and the threat to public health holding the games would cause, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“I proposed to postpone for about a year and president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement,” Abe told reporters, according to the BBC.
In a statement issued shortly after Abe spoke with reporters, the IOC confirmed the postponement, saying:
“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.”
While the games are now scheduled to be held in 2021, they still be branded Tokyo 2020, according to Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, as cited by the Reuters correspondent Mari Saito.
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
A postponement of the games had looked likely for several days, and, on Monday, Dick Pound, a Canadian IOC member, said it was certain the Olympics would not begin as scheduled on July 24.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in a phone interview with USA Today.
“The parameters going forward have not been determined,” he added. “But the games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
“Today, the IOC is discussing with Japanese govt, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and IOC Executive Board about the scenario planning including the postponement of the Games and will communicate in due course,” the IOC said earlier Tuesday.
Pressure had grown on the IOC and Japan in recent days to make a definitive decision on the fate of the games, with the committee criticised for saying Sunday that it would give itself four weeks to make a call.
Some Olympic associations had already withdrawn from the games, with both Canada and Australia saying they would not send athletes to Japan and both the US swimming and track-and-field teams warning they might also withdraw.
Canada, backed by its government, was the first to withdraw its athletes from the games.
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” a statement from the Canadian Olympic Committee said on Sunday.
“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health.”
- Read more:
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