The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has been postponed for a year, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan announced today, Tuesday 24 March 2020.
In a joint statement, they said “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.”
The IOC President Thomas Bach and Japan PM Abe Shinzo held a conference call this morning, along with other officials, to discuss the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and COVID-19. They
President Bach and Prime Minister 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. (Just this week South African swimmer Chad le Clos returned home to South Africa from his Olympic training abroad and said he didn’t know how he was going to continue.)
In what was apparently a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating,” said the statement.
“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.”
At last count, on Tuesday, South Africa had 554 cases that have tested positive to Covid-19.
The decision was therefore made to reschedule the Olympics for next year, before summer 2021.
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.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.