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Tokyo Olympics Postponed, Will be Held by the Summer of 2021

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Tokyo Olympics Postponed, Will be Held by the Summer of 2021

Amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee have agreed that the Tokyo Olympics “will be held by the summer of 2021,” the prime minister’s office tweeted Tuesday.

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Abe — who pushed hard for Tokyo’s selection as the host city — agreed that the Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021,” the IOC added in a 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,” the IOC statement said. “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.”

Japan appears to have successfully slowed the spread of the respiratory virus on home soil so far, with just 1,140 diagnosed cases as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

But as the health crisis deepens in other parts of the world, including Europe and North America, a growing number of Olympic teams and athletes called on organizers to postpone or cancel the upcoming Games.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board on Sunday said it would assess the worldwide situation over the next four weeks and make a decision that could include the scenario of postponing the Games.

Canada was the first country to announce it would not be sending athletes to this year’s Olympics due to risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee called on organizers to delay the Games for one year.

“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the committees said in a joint statement Sunday. “This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”

Australia followed suit. After deciding unanimously not to send a team, the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement that “our athletes now need to prioritize their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families.”

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said athletes should prepare for the Tokyo Games in 2021.

“The athletes desperately want to go to the games,” Carroll told reporters in Sydney on Monday, “but they also take onboard their own personal health.”

“We need to give our athletes that certainty,” he added, “and that’s what we’ve done.”


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