What was inevitable is now official: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been pushed back amid the global spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, March 24, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, met to discuss the future of the 2020 Games. The International Olympic Committee had been considering making modifications to the Games or postponing them, as Olympic and Paralympic teams from Australia and Canada have exited and training has become more difficult due to coronavirus.
A joint statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee officially announces the postponement on Tuesday, March 24, writing:
“The Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
The statement also says that the Games will remain in Japan and “keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
As CNN reports, the postponement marks the first time that the Games will be delayed during peacetime.
According to the statement, “the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.”