It took them long enough, but the International Olympic Committee has officially postponed the 2020 Olympic Games from Tokyo until 2021, according to ESPN’s Kelly Cohen.
Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by about one year on Tuesday in a decision that many had expected would have been finalized amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“[T]he IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games … 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,” said a joint statement by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC.
The World Health Organization had consulted with both parties on Tuesday about what it called the “accelerating” pandemic, per the statement, which has now impacted almost every country around the globe.
Earlier this week, the IOC had said that it was going to provide itself around four weeks to make a decision regarding the Olympics, but pressure from both nations and olympic athletes, and consultation with the WHO accelerated the decision to put the games officially on hold until 2021.
“Despite the feeling of eventuality that so many of us have felt in the lead up to this moment — my heart breaks for you, your fellow athletes around the world, our friends at Tokyo 2020, the people of Japan, and all who are impacted by this global pandemic and the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games 2020,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter to the athletes.
“We heard your concerns and we shared them. I thank you for being so forthcoming with your perspectives, and also for allowing us the time to hear from your teammates across all sports before making a recommendation to the IOC.”
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the IOC statement said.
This marks the first time that the Olympics have been postponed and/or rescheduled for anything other than a war. The Olympics were moved back in 1916, 1940, and 1944 due to World Wars.
Tokyo 2020 organizers projected that the financial impact will be around $12.6 billion, and experts project the impact closer to $25 billion.
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