Japanese organizing Committee head Yoshiro Mori announced this Tuesday April 28, 2020 that if the Covid-19 pandemic is not contained until then, Tokyo Olympics 2020 postponed to summer 2021 could be cancelled.
Planned from July 24 to August 9, 2020 first, 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo should officially take place from July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021. Barely a week after organizing country Japan has officially requested this Tuesday March 24th, 2020. Because of the health crisis the world if going through since early 2020, they have asked to postpone the Olympics to one year. The IOC has given a definitive verdict this Monday March 30th, 2020.
A decision bound to happen in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but also from a historic point of view: this is the first time Olympic Games are postponed in a time of peace. While organizers were fighting for weeks to avoid this option, the public opinion and the athletes’ fear got the better of the IOC’s persistence to sustain the Olympics. Yet, members of the committee and Japanese authorities have been extremely cautious, for fear of rushing an organization not used to last-minute changes.
Of course, cancelling the Olympic Games 2020 was “not on the agenda”. Such a cancellation would “destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes of the 210 national Olympic committees, the team of refugees and the Paralympic athletes” IOC president Thomas Bach says. Postponing is just as exceptional, but this option has ultimately convinced most of the members.
Thomas Bach added in a letter to athletes made public: “Together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement. We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks.” With Japan’s official request, these discussions will not take as long for sure.
A decision matching the declarations of several sport federations demanding for the 2020 Olympics to be postponed such as American swimming and athletics federations, the Spanish athletics federation as well as the French athletics federation. As for Canada, they’ve already announced they were refusing to let their athletes go to the Olympics if the latter were not postponed.