The Tokyo Olympics has officially been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement released on Tuesday by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, expressed their shared concern “about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and what is is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact its is having on global athletes preparations for the Games.”
They said that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to “a date beyond 2020 but no later than Summer 2021.”
“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating,” read the statement.
“Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘accelerating’. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
Both parties also agreed to keep the Olympic flame in Japan, and the Games will keep the name “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
On March 22, Canada announced it would not be participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer because of coronavirus.
At the time, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) were backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada.
“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health,” the COC said in a media release. “With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the Canadian Olympians after they said they would not attend the summer Olympics.
Trudeau said this is heartbreaking for so many people, but also said it was “absolutely the right call and everyone should follow their lead.”