It’s beginning to look inevitable that the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will take place in 2021.
Longtime Canadian IOC member Dick Pound confirmed as much on Monday, according to a report from USA Today.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
The Olympics were scheduled to take place July 24 to August 9 in Japan. With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting many countries around the world, holding a global event like the Olympics in four months seems unrealistic.
On Sunday, Canada became the first country to pull out of Tokyo 2020, unless it is postponed until next year. Australia has since followed suit.
“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health,” the Canadian Olympic Committee 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.”
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IOC president Thomas Bach confirmed for the first time this weekend that postponement of the Games is something that’s being seriously considered. The IOC is not considering cancelling the Olympics outright though.
“Cancellation of the Olympic Games would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, most likely for the Paralympic athletes, and for all the people who are supporting you as coaches, doctors, officials, training partners, friends and family,” said Bach.
The modern Olympics has never been postponed before, but was cancelled in 1940 and 1944 due to the Second World War, and in 1916 because of the first. The last time Canada didn’t send a team to the Olympics was when it boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow during the Cold War.