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Following mounting pressure from athletes and nations to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee has opted to move the Games to the summer of 2021.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, 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,” said a statement from the IOC. This is the first time in modern history the Games have ever been rescheduled due to a health crisis. The Games have only ever been cancelled in wartime.
The decision came after numerous international sporting events were cancelled or postponed and countries, including Norway, Brazil, Canada and Australia, demanded that the schedule be altered. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee initially sided with the I.O.C.’s “wait and see” stance, but last night the organization flipped, imploring postponement.
The change will disrupt sport schedules, including the Swimming and Track and Field World Championships. Broadcast rights, which provide the majority of the I.O.C.’s revenue, will need to be renegotiated, and Japan’s economy will suffer. The world, however, now has a year to contain the virus.
“There will be time for competing, there will be time for sports. Now the world is ill, but one day we will celebrate its recovery with our world cups and championships,” said Marco Scolaris, the President of the IFSC.