LAUSANNE, Switzerland—There will be no Summer Olympics in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this according to a joint statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.
IOC President Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, as well as other members of the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, made the announcement during a conference call on Tuesday morning, March 24.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO (World Health Organization) today, the IOC President and 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 Olympics Games and the international community,” the statement read.
According to the IOC’s statement, as recently as March 23, the WHO reported that there were more than 375,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 throughout the world, with cases in nearly every country.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
In terms of the Olympics’ broadcast, an NBC Sports spokesperson gave a statement to The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the week, saying: “These are extraordinary and unprecedented times, and we fully support the IOC’s decision to step up its scenario-planning for the Tokyo Olympics. We are prepared to stand behind any decision made by the IOC, the Japanese government and the world health officials with whom they are working regarding the Tokyo Olympics.”
This marks the first postponement of the Olympics in modern history. The Games were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to World War I and World War II, respectively.
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