Tokyo Olympics delayed due to COVID-19

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Isabelle Nunes

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are postponed to 2021 until further notice.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads world-wide, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will officially no longer be held in 2020.

After resistance by multiple nations and athletes alike, Tokyo and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) agreed to postpone the Tokyo games for an estimated year to come.

According to a joint statement by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC, “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.”

This is the first time in history that the timing of the Olympic games will be affected by a factor other than war. In the past, the games have only been canceled three times: once during World War I (1916) and twice during World War II (1940, 1944). 

However, the postponement was inevitable. Both Canada and Australia joined in the decision that they would not send their representative to the 2020 Olympics without its delay. Soon after, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee advised the IOC to postpone. 

“The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know,” said Dick Pound, an IOC in an interview with USA Today.

Although the delay is an inconvenience to those who looked forward to the games, it provides a sense of relief for health officers and athletes who expressed their concern about training and competing amidst the outbreak. The safety and health of citizens and those involved in the games are of top priority in this period of immense adversity.

Still, the confirmation that the games will be held on a later date offers a sense of hope to unite nations as the world works to overcome COVID-19 in the most diligent way possible.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty remaining, an uncertainty for the entire humanity,’’ IOC President Thomas Bach said. “We are all together in a very dark time, and we do not know how long this tunnel is, and we do not know what will happen tomorrow. But we want this Olympic flame to be the light of the end of it [the tunnel].”