The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have officially been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee made the announcement following a conference call with Japanese officials this morning.
From their joint statement:
“President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
“In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. 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.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that 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 leaders agreed that 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. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
The decision comes the morning after the US Olympic Committee’s call to postpone the Games, a sentiment shared by several National Federations. Canada and Australia said they would not send athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games unless it was postponed until 2021; Ireland and Great Britain also indicated that they were considering withdrawal; and New Zealand was also vocal in its call for postponement.
The USEF responded as follows:
“We have received confirmation that the IOC and Organizing Committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games have jointly decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games to 2021. While we are all extremely disappointed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games will not move forward as planned this summer, we fully support the decision to postpone to 2021, prioritizing athlete, staff, and spectator safety and health during this challenging time.
“We are awaiting details on the approach the Organizing Committee, USOPC and FEI will take to the significant logistical changes at hand and also whether the Games will mirror the schedule we anticipated for this summer or operate on a revised timeline. We are starting to analyze the operational and financial impact of this decision and will begin the review process of selection procedures as soon as we have pertinent information and a better understanding of new timetables.
“Please regularly visit your Discipline specific webpage and if you have any urgent questions or concerns contact your Discipline Director. We will also continue to post general information and advice on https://www.usef.org/compete/coronavirus.”