The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have finally been postponed
The Tokyo Olympics have finally been postposed. However, the International Olympic Committee has said they plan on waiting four more weeks before making a final call on the new dates. However, the Games will be postponed by a year to 2021.
Japan's government is negotiating with the IOC to postpone the Games by a year at most due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Sankei newspaper reported.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” IOC member Dick Pound said in a phone interview to USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Here's the official announcement:
"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," the IOC said in a joint statement with Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
In a major blow to the Olympics, Canada announced on Sunday (March 22) that they will not send a delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they were postponed. The chairman of the British Olympic Association Hugh Rebertson said Great Britain would be unlikely to send a team to Tokyo this summer as well.
Robertson told Sky News: "First, I don't see any way that the athletes and Team GB could be ready by then. Elite training facilities are perfectly understandably and quite correctly closed around the country, so there is no way they could undertake the preparation they need to get ready for the Games.
"Secondly, there is the appropriateness of holding an Olympic Games at a time like this. We are actually in a process where we are talking to all our sports. We will complete that over the next couple of days."
In February, Dick Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion who has been on the IOC since 1978, said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press:
“In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’”
However to the surprise of many, Japan in early March said that the Olympics were "very much still on".
"We have not thought about it. We have not heard about it. We have made inquiries, and we were told there is no such plan," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.
"Our basic thinking is to conduct the Olympics and Paralympics as planned. That's our assumption."
Yesterday however, IOC member Dick Pound said postponement "has been decided", and it will most likely be until 2021, but told USA Today the "parameters" have not been finalised, and "it will come in stages".
The Olympics were set to open on July 24, while the Paralympics are set for August 25.
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