Japanese PM and IOC chief agree to postpone 2020 Olympics

Japanese PM and IOC chief agree to postpone 2020 Olympics
The financial implications of postponing the Olympics could be huge. Source: Getty Images
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Tuesday to postpone 2020 Olympics until 2021.

The decision came after mountains of pressure to delay the Games on Japan and IOC. The event was scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

It was also announced that despite the postponement, the event will still be dubbed Tokyo 2020.

Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and IOC issued a statement today which says: “The IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games … 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,” the statement added.

“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.”

Athletes unable to train

The Olympics have never been rescheduled since 1944. The world’s biggest sporting event was canceled only three times, in 1916, 1940 and 1944, because of world wars.

Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said in last week that her country was planning for a “complete” hosting of the Games, which she explained meant an Olympics which “started on time and with spectators in attendance.”

Then last week, the IOC said for the first time that the organization was considering a number of different options including a postponement or modifying the Games so they could still take place as scheduled in July.

The Olympic rings float in the water near the Rainbow Bridge in the Odaiba section of Tokyo, Monday, March 23, 2020. The Tokyo Olympics are going to happen — but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned. Source: AP

There have been growing pressures on Japan to postpone 2020 Olympics. Canada said that they will not send any athletes if the Olympics will not be delayed.

Pressures were from Olympic heavyweight countries like the UK and the US too.

Lots of athletes including British Olympic champion Callum Skinner are among the latest people to urge that call. The cyclist fronts competitor-led movement Global Athlete – says both should be rescheduled.

Callum Skinner warned boycotts could ensue, with the health of athletes at risk.

“People think Olympians are superheroes but they are normal people and fall ill like everybody else,” he said.

About 700 out of 10,000 athletes were diagnosed as asthmatic at London 2012 Olympics, said Mr Skinner, adding that even if athletes don’t have Covid-19, they may have a cough so can’t compete.

Sporting events across the globe have been suspended amid the outbreak. Euro 2020 is being moved to next year, Indian Premier League, NBA, Spanish League, Champions League are either canceled or postponed.

The financial implications of postponing the Olympics could be huge. The organizers said in December that the hosting cost was some 1.35 trillion yen (12.35 billion US dollars).

Broadcasters, insurers, and Sponsors have also committed billions to the Games.