Athletes that were set to or hoping to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are reacting after the games were officially postponed.
On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach announced in a joint statement that the Summer Games would be postponed one year amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Though a specific date was not yet released, the statement said that the games would be “rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.”
Among the Olympians and Olympic hopefuls to react was American middle-distance runner Emma Coburn, who tweeted, “Our dreams aren’t cancelled, they are just postponed. Looking forward to dreams coming true for athletes everywhere in 2021.”
Wrote Olympic water polo player Kaleigh Gilchrist, simply, “Same dream, different date.”
Our dreams aren’t cancelled, they are just postponed. Looking forward to dreams coming true for athletes everywhere in 2021 ❤️ #Tokyo2021— emma coburn (@emmajcoburn) March 23, 2020
Same dream, different date https://t.co/IsR7ZimCVn— Kaleigh Gilchrist (@KGilchrist15) March 24, 2020
As we stand together to meet today’s challenges, we can dream about a wonderful Olympics in a beautiful country. Now is the time to support all those working to heal the sick and keep us all healthy. pic.twitter.com/RsLuidzeYw— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) March 24, 2020
All in all a very wise decision to postpone the Olympics until 2021. I look forward to come back to Japan to defend my Olympic title next year and look forward to witness a wonderful event. I wish everybody good health in these challenging times. pic.twitter.com/jrhsFEe545— Eliud Kipchoge - EGH🇰🇪 (@EliudKipchoge) March 24, 2020
Waited 8 years for this, what’s another 1 in the grand scheme of things? 😅📈💪🏽 As an athlete, it’s heartbreaking news about the olympics being postponed until 2021, but it’s for all the right reasons and the safety of everyone! Hope everyone keeps safe and stay indoors x pic.twitter.com/z0JlgV2efI— KJT (@JohnsonThompson) March 24, 2020
London 2012 🇬🇧 🟢— Adam Gemili (@Adam_Gemili) March 24, 2020
Rio 2016 🇧🇷 🟢
Tokyo 2021 🇯🇵 🔜
Thankful to finally have some clarity regarding The Olympic Games. A huge decision but I think the right one for sure.
Time to regain, look after each other during this difficult period and go again when the time is right! pic.twitter.com/l1NjjUUmMy
Wow, Olympic Games will be postponed. Im so glad the IOC made a swift decision, it would have been terrible to leave us hanging for months.— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) March 23, 2020
Fun facts for your morning.... https://t.co/qv8gqVeCXT— Cat Osterman OLY (@catosterman) March 24, 2020
2021, lets do this 💪🏽🦾I’ll be honest, training between @Tokyo2020 &!@ParaSnowSports Nordic/Biathlon’s world champs my coffee game is REALLY going to have to step up. You can only achieve big goals if you are healthy and safe. Control what you can #PlayInside #playfortheworld— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) March 24, 2020
In a letter sent to athletes by the U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland on Tuesday, she wrote of the postponement, “This summer was supposed to be a culmination of your hard work and life’s dream, but taking a step back from competition to care for our communities and each other is the right thing to do. Your moment will wait until we can gather again safely.”
“The excellence within Team USA is our resilience and how we overcome adversity. I have no doubt we will get through this together as a team, and all be better because of it,” she said.
IOC member Dick Pound initially confirmed the postponement news to USA Today on Monday.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound explained. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
The decision also came after several countries said they would not send athletes to Tokyo unless the games were postponed in order to not risk their health, including Canada and Australia.
As of Tuesday, at least 16,890 people have died from coronavirus, and it has been detected in at least 166 countries. It has infected more than 382,000 people, the New York Times said.