Tokyo 2020 Olympics Postponed to 2021
Tokyo, Japan: After months of pressure from athletes and governing organizations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on March 24, 2020 that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, originally scheduled for July 24th to August 9th, 2020, will be postponed to no later than the summer of 2021. According to International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, "The health and well-being of human life must always be our No. 1 priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible."
This decision came after their "assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement," according to IOC President Thomas Bach. Prior to the announcement, pressure had mounted from the Olympic movement including national Olympic Committees, such as Brazil and Norway, and from the two largest U.S. Olympic sport governing bodies, USA Swimming and USA Track and Field. This pressure stemmed from the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, which has infected over 350,000 people worldwide. According to Bach, factors impacting the decision included the ripple effects throughout the global sports community's 11,000 athletes, sports federations and leagues, the need to adapt the international sports calendar for 33 Olympic sports, the availability of critical venues, hotel bookings, and the significant financial implications for major stakeholders, including the IOC and the Japanese government.
The official announcement followed a conference call between Thomas Bach, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, organizers and officials. The IOC statement read, "it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020."
In the past, three games have been cancelled: the 1916 Summer games, due to World War I, and the 1940 Summer and 1944 Winter Games, due to World War II. Although boycotts in 1976, 1980 and 1984 caused complications, the events continued as scheduled.
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