- The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed because of coronavirus.
- Japan’s prime minister and the president of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) agreed on the move last week.
- The IOC's executive board just announced the new dates.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are now postponed after coronavirus sparked widespread health and safety concerns.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” said Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe, according to The Guardian. He said the Games will still be called the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020" even if they’re in 2021.
This morning, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s executive board announced the Olympics will now take place from July 23, 2021 through August 8, 2021. The Paralympic Games (originally slated to start August 25, 2020) will now begin August 24, 2021 and conclude September 5, 2021.
"I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge," said IOC president Thomas Bach, according to BBC. "Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel."
USA Today was the first to break the news, reporting that a member of the IOC confirmed that the Games are postponed—but not canceled.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” IOC member Dick Pound told the outlet. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
“It will come in stages. We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
As for why they didn’t cancel the Games, the IOC exec board said that would “destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes.” “Cancelation would not solve any problem and would help nobody. Therefore, it is not on our agenda,” wrote IOC President Thomas Bach.
Leaders from different sports called for action before the IOC made a move. Tim Hinchey III, the head of USA Swimming, advocated for the Olympics to be postponed until 2021 in a letter to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. USA Track & Field (USATF) also asked that the 2020 Olympic Games be postponed.
Additionally, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) both announced they would not send athletes to the Summer Games unless the organizers postponed the event until 2021.
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