After much deliberation, the International Olympic Committee made the choice, for the first time in Olympic history, to postpone the 2020 edition of the Summer Olympic Games that were originally scheduled to be held July 24 through August 9 in Tokyo, Japan. The Paralympic Games have also been postponed.
The decision came after a consultation between the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the Government of Japan.
After Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō noted that the Summer Olympic Games should be held in summer, the Games have indeed been rescheduled for the summer of 2021. Exactly one year after the original dates, the XXIII Summer Olympiad will now be held July 23 through August 8 with the Paralympic Games taking place from August 24 through September 5.
The IOC, IPC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the Government of Japan used three criteria in making their decisions; the health of the athletes and everyone involved with the Games, to safeguard the interests of the athletes, and the international sports calendar.
The new dates will allow everyone involved including health officials plenty of time to deal with any issues that arise including the constantly changing landscape of the world due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic currently encompassing the globe.
Several of the sports involved in the Games have already had to postpone qualifying events due to the virus and will now be able to hold those events for the rescheduled Olympic Games. Any qualifying matches that have already taken place will stand.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo stated that the Games will be held in their complete form; adding that Japan is prepared to fulfill their responsibility as the host country for the Games.
IOC President Thomas Bach spoke on the decision saying, “I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days. I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
IPC President Andrew Parsons added, “it is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. 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. With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic Movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time.”