After considerable internal discussion among the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the 2020 Summer Olympics will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, they announced Tuesday morning in a joint statement.
“I proposed to postpone for about a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100 percent agreement,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
Japan has committed to hosting the Summer Games in about one year’s time, but no exact dates are available yet. A one-year delay will also be implemented for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
To safeguard the health of the athletes and everyone involved in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will now take place no later than summer 2021.
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 24, 2020
The Japanese Prime Minister added, “This will make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and will make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.”
This decision came after weeks of deliberation, and then official withdrawal of Canada and Australia from the 2020 Summer Olympics Games.
Late on Monday, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee urged the IOC to postpone the Games, but the USOPC had not officially withdrawn from competition.
Earlier in March, the World Health Organization met with medical advisors from international sporting federations that oversee Olympic events to discuss options which included the possibility of holding the Games without spectators. Ultimately, the decision was made to delay the Games to help ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic can be brought under control.
The Olympics have not been canceled or postponed since World War II. Tokyo was supposed to host the Summer Games in 1940 but had to bow out after it went to war with China. The Games were then awarded to Helsinki, Finland, but were canceled after the outbreak of WWII. Helsinki ultimately hosted the 1952 Summer Games, and Tokyo in 1964.
Paris is set to host the Summer Olympics in 2024, and Los Angeles in 2028.
We will continue to update this story with more information and details as they become available.