COVID-19 crisis: Tokyo Olympic Games postponed until 2021

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until 2021 amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following a conference call this morning (24 March), a statement released jointly said that ‘in the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the [duo] have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020.”

The decision was made to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community, they said.

It has been agreed that the Olympics must take place “not later than summer 2021.”

During the conference call, Bach and Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and “what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.”

The statement continued: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.”

The Olympic flame will stay in Japan, it was agreed. The Games will also keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.


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