After several weeks of following the uncertain fate of the 2020 Olympics, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach have officially confirmed the postponement of the games on Tuesday.
Scheduled to start on July 24, the Tokyo games will not be held due to the coronavirus outbreak and instead, will be postponed no later than the Summer of 2021.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, 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,” read an official statement.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, 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.”
This marks only the fourth time since the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 that the Games have been forced to not take place. Previously, there were three occasions where the Olympics were cancelled (due to the first and second World Wars), and now, will be the first time the Games have been postponed, rather than cancelled.
This move follows several other major events that have been postponed or cancelled such as the Cannes Film Festival, CFDA Fashion Awards, Coachella and Watches & Wonders.