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.”
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On March 22, Canada announced it would not be participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer because of coronavirus.
“Despite the feeling of eventuality that so many of us have felt in the lead up to this moment – my heart breaks for you,” writes United States Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland. “This summer was supposed to be a culmination of your hard work and life’s dream, but taking a step back from competition to care for our communities and each other is the right thing to do. Your moment will wait until we can gather again safely.”