Tokyo Olympics postponed due to COVID-19

Sprint start in track and field. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / stefanschurr

The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed for one year due to the global spread of COVID-19.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a joint teleconference Tuesday morning to announce the decision to hold off on the summer games, which had been set to begin on July 24.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo 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,” according to a joint statement issued by ICO President Thomas Back and Prime Minister Abe.

The pair went on to state that the Tokyo Olympics could still be a beacon of hope for the world during these uncertain times. As such, the decision was made to leave the Olympic flame in Japan for the time being. Both Bach and Abe agreed that the games, no matter when they are played, will keep the name “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

A new date for the games has not yet been determined.

Calls to postpone the Olympics had been growing in recent weeks because of the increasing spread of COVID-19. The pandemic led the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee to announce on Sunday that they would not be sending athletes to compete unless the games were pushed back to a later date.

This is the first time in history that the Olympics has been postponed.