The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until next year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
The Olympic event, due to begin on 24 July, will now take place “no later than summer 2021” with the Paralympic Games also starting at a later date.
“I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement,“ Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
The event will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today (Tuesday), 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.”
Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee said “Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do. The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.”
“Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is. It is essential therefore that all steps are taken to try and limit the spread of this disease.”
The Games have never been delayed in their 124-year modern history, though the Olympics were cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars.
Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), went on to say “When the Paralympic Games do happen in Tokyo next year, they will be a spectacular global celebration of humanity coming together again as one.”
“In the meantime, we will liaise and work closely with our athlete community, National Paralympic Committees and International Federation impacted by this postponement.”
Athletes affected by this announcement should continue to follow the advice and guidance of their coaches, National Governing Body contacts and the British Paralympic Association.