It’s official: the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint announcement by the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee Tuesday, officials confirmed the historic decision to push back the date of the Olympics.
“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 joint statement said.
Earlier Tuesday, Japan’s NHK-TV reported that prime minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games until summer of 2021 “at the latest.”
According to the report, the two spoke by phone about this decision.
On Monday, we reported that longtime International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said the Tokyo Summer Olympics will be postponed, making him the first member of the all-powerful governing body to make the historic declaration.
Pound, one of the most influential members of the IOC, spoke in an interview with USA Today’s Christine Brennan,
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” he said. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
There was some doubt about his statement, however; a spokesperson for the IOC told the Los Angeles Times, “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC [executive board].” So there’s been no clear path forward.
The postponement marks the first time in modern history that the Olympic games have been postponed. A 12-year-delay resulted following the relocation and cancellation of the 1940 games because of World War II.