TOKYO – The Tokyo Olympics were postponed to 2021 on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation that the games might not go as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee made the decision after speaking to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers.
The IOC said the games will take place "by summer 2021 at the latest," but they will continue to be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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“Under the current circumstances and based on today's information from WHO, the IOC President and the Japanese Prime Minister have concluded that the Games of the XXXII. Tokyo Olympics must be postponed to after 2020, but no later than summer 2021, to protect the health of athletes, everyone involved in the Olympics and the international community, ”the IOC said in a statement.
Joint statement by the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee: //t.co/XNcaa4Gvx8
– Olympic Games (@Olympics) March 24, 2020
Before the official announcement, Abe said that Bach had approved his proposal for a one-year postponement.
"President Bach said he would '100%' and we agreed to hold the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games by summer 2021 at the latest," Abe said, saying that the holding of the Play next year "proof of one." Victory against coronavirus infections. "
The decision was made just a few hours after the local organizers announced that the torch relay would start on Thursday as planned. These plans also changed.
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"For the time being, the flame will be stored and exhibited in Fukushima," said the president of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori.
The Olympic Games have never been postponed and have only been canceled in times of war.
The organizers of the IOC and Tokyo said they hope the decision to move the world will help heal the pandemic.
"The Heads of State and Government agreed that the Tokyo Olympics could be a beacon of hope for the world in these difficult times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the World is currently in place, "it said in the IOC statement." It was therefore agreed that the Olympic flame will remain in Japan. It was also agreed that the games would keep the name of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. "
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The IOC has come under increasing pressure in recent days to postpone the games that are scheduled to start on July 24th. 1.7 billion people around the world are blocked to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Training has become impossible for many athletes and puts them at risk of becoming infected with the disease or spreading it. Competitions and qualifiers have been dropped, while international travel is severely restricted.
On Sunday, the IOC initially set a period of four weeks to submit a proposal to postpone the games, a Herculean task that touches on all aspects of Tokyo 2020 planning, from venues to security to ticketing.
But after Canada and Australia withdrew their teams and the powerful US Olympic Committee and World Athletics also joined the choir to request a move, the writing was on the wall for the July launch.
Tokyo has spent around $ 12.6 billion on game targeting, according to its latest budget, and experts believe that a short-term move could cost around $ 6 billion in the short term before it eventually recovers if they finally continue.
It will also be a severe blow to sponsors and large broadcasters who rely on the four-year extravaganza for critical advertising revenue.
It is not the first time that Tokyo has experienced unscheduled changes to the games – it should be the first Asian country to host the 1940 Olympic Games before retiring due to international pressure over its war against China.
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Squeezing the 16-day games into an already overcrowded calendar for 2021 is another big problem. Probably the two biggest sports, swimming and athletics, are expected to hold their world championships in summer.
However, the World Athletics Championships have already announced that they are ready to postpone their World Championships scheduled for August 6-15 next year in Oregon to allow for a switch to the games.
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