The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, which are originally set to begin in July this year, will now be postponed due to the escalating Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the president of International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, have agreed, via a phone conference today, to delay the Games for about a year. No new dates have been set yet, but the Games will be held latest by summer 2021.
This is the first time in history that the Games are postponed during peacetime. Previously, the Olympics were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 because of war.
In a joint statement released by the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, Abe and Bach both ‘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’.
While the Torch Relay has also been cancelled and rescheduled for a later date as a consequence of the postponement of the Games, the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. Moreover, the name Tokyo 2020 will remain as is.
Watch IOC president Thomas Bach’s message to the athletes here.