It’s official: Tokyo 2020 will begin 364 days after it was originally scheduled.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the announcement on Monday that the Summer Games, which will keep the “Tokyo 2020” name, will take place July 23 to August 8, 2021 (they were supposed to take place July 24 to August 9, 2020).
It’s the first time in Olympic history that the Games have been postponed, as the COVID-19 pandemic made it unsafe for Tokyo to host this summer. The Paralympics will be postponed until next year, August 24 to September 5.
“These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organization of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IOC said in a media release.
By postponing the Olympics nearly a full calendar year, the IOC hopes to minimize the impact on the international sports calendar. The IOC also confirmed that all athletes who previously qualified for Tokyo 2020 will keep their spot at next year’s competition.
While many athletes have already qualified for Tokyo, there are still a number of competitions that will need to be rescheduled to complete the process, including the Olympic men’s basketball qualifying tournament in Victoria.
“With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”