The International Olympic Committee is looking to start fresh next year. It was announced that the 2020 Olympics, which were postponed as a result of the coronavirus, will be taking place in 2021 in Tokyo. The dates for the 2021 Summer Games will remain the same; July 23 to August 8.
Additionally, the Paralympic Games will be taking place from August 24 to September 5.
“In consideration of the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain timeframe before we fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure for the athletes and spectators,” Governor Koike Yuriko stated in a release. “Also, the preparation for the new dates will go smoothly, as the dates match with same timeframe as the original competition dates, corresponding with ticketing, venue staffing, volunteers and transport.”
The coronavirus has affected the entire world, with all major sports postponing events until the foreseeable future. IOC President Thomas Bach left open the idea to have the Olympics during the spring, but with gyms and training facilities closed it was unsure how athletes would respond to the news. This is the first time the Olympics have been postponed. The games have been cancelled five times: 1916 Summer Games, 1940 Summer and Winter Games, 1944 Summer and Winter Games.
All athletes that have qualified for the Summer Games will remain in their spots for next year. Initially, the Olympics were going to go on as planned, per IOC member Dick Pound. Back in February, Pound stated the following:
“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo. All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”
Following that announcement, a number of situations escalated, forcing the IOC’s hand. The Israeli judo team cancelled their training camp in Japan, while the IOC Boxing Task Force had to suspend all boxing qualifiers as they were happening. The International Judo Federation also suspended all events, while the Karate 1-Premier League events in Rabat, Morocco and Madrid were cancelled. Canada and Australia joined Norway, Brazil and Slovenia in announcing they will not be sending athletes to the Summer Games if it was to still take place. The United States swimming and track governing bodies even called for a postponement.
With pressure being out on the IOC by those in the political realm and people all over the world, the games were called off.
“It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said Andrew Parsons, the President of the IPC. “The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world. When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport.”
According to ESPN, Japan has spent $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics. With the delay and the new year, as well as additional costs, the end result could be far greater than expected.
This is a wait and see approach due to the coronavirus. According to the latest from CNN, there are over 741,724K cases of the virus, with over 35,305 deaths.