Huge numbers of sporting events have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. And now the granddaddy of global sporting events, the Olympic Games, originally set for this summer in Tokyo, will join them.
The office of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tweeted on Tuesday that following conversations with the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo Olympics will now take place in 2021.
“After his telephone talks with IOC President Bach, PM Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021,” said the tweet.
In a statement on Tuesday, the IOC said the Games will be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but no later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of athletes and everyone involved in the Olympics. The sporting event will continue to be called Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“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 committee said in a statement. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.”
While the Olympics have been canceled in the past, because of World War I and World War II, they have never been postponed to a different year.