The International Olympic Committee and Japanese government have announced the 2020 Summer Olympics will be put off until further notice this morning. The world’s largest sporting event was supposed to take place in Tokyo in late July, but will now take place in Summer 2021.
In a statement made by the organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the IOC, they said, “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today [Tuesday], 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 decision was made after multiple postponements of other events occurred in Japan on top of government officials requesting that citizens limit their physical interactions. Other nations such as Canada and Australia had their athletes withdraw from games or were unable to train due to the widespread of the coronavirus.
According to the New York Times, “The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, after initially declining to take a stand, joined the fray Monday night, urging the I.O.C. to postpone.” The US and the UK also pushed for the event to be delayed.
IOC President Thomas Bach claimed that athletes became paranoid about risking their health to continue training for the event. Not only is it a risk for them, but also the vast amount of people who will attend. According to Time, an estimated 10,000 athletes and about 600,000 overseas visitors planned to attend.
This is a big let down for Japan, considering they invested $12.6 billion and will face a drop in their GDP. Now the team has to create a new schedule and make sure the Olympics fit into the global sports calendar, which will take a while.
It is the first time since 1944 that the Summer Olympics have been delayed but leaves athletes, staff and attendees at peace by not hosting such a large gathering.