The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have officially been rescheduled for their same time slot next year.
On Monday, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board met to finalize the postponement and announced that the Summer Olympics would now be held from July 23 through August 8, 2021.
“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement following their decision.
The IOC and Japanese organizers explained that the new dates would give health officials, as well as everyone involved with the Olympics, “the maximum time” to deal with the pandemic and disruption it has caused around the world.
Additionally, the new dates will keep any further disruptions that the postponement will have on the international sports calendar at a “minimum,” they said, while also providing “sufficient time” for athletes to finish the qualification process.
“A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable,” President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Mori Yoshirō, said.
The IOC first announced the games would be postponed until 2021 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic last week, though a specific reschedule date was not yet released.
“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,” a statement released by the IOC read.
The delay is unprecedented, marking only the fourth time in modern Olympic history that the games have been disrupted.
In the meantime, the Olympic flame will remain in Japan during the delay. The Summer Games will also continue to be called “Tokyo 2020,” even as they are moved to 2021.
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