Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021

Olympic leaders have vowed to overcome the “unprecedented challenge” of the corona virus pandemic, but announced on Monday that the 2020 Tokyo Games will be moved in mid-summer of 2021.

July 23 – Aug. 8 dates fall almost exactly one year after the global sporting event was originally scheduled for this year.

“Humanity is currently in a dark tunnel,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. “These Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may become a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Tokyo IOC officials and organizers issued their joint statement a day after reports that COVID-19 cases were on the rise in Japan’s capital, with the possibility of a public shutdown.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko has vowed that her metropolitan government will “use all of its resources” to create a safe atmosphere for around 11,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of fans.

“Given the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain time frame before we fully prepare for the delivery of games that are safe for the athletes and spectators,” said Yuriko.

The Paralympic Games were also moved to August 24 – September. 5, with an official from the International Paralympic Committee: “It is great news that we can find new data so quickly.”

Just a week ago, the Tokyo 2020 IOC and Organizing Committee – pressured by athletes and member states around the world – agreed to a postponement, declaring that “2020” would remain in the official name regardless of when the event was held .

In the course of a century, the modern Olympics had previously been canceled during the World Wars, but never postponed.

Finding a new date meant compromising the vast web of Olympic movement stakeholders, including television broadcasters and the 33 international federations that each run a sport.

Chairman of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach

(Denis Balibouse / AFP via Getty Images)

Bach initially said “all options are on the table” when it came to realignment, taking spring into account. But officials had indicated last week that they preferred a summer window.

The start at the end of July offers breathing space given that many qualifications and major matches have been postponed due to the pandemic. Training facilities are closed in many parts of the world.

“It takes a certain amount of time to select and qualify athletes and to train and prepare them,” said Mori Yoshiro, the President of Tokyo 2020. “And the consensus was that organizing the rescheduled Games over the summer holidays in Japan would be preferable. “

The decision should be popular with athletes who have been experiencing increasing uncertainty since the onset of the coronavirus late last year.

“I can’t wait to train again,” Natalya Coyle, who will represent Ireland in pentathlon, posted on social media.

Broadcasters should also be happy. A spring date would have brought the Olympics in the midst of the professional basketball, hockey, and baseball seasons in the United States and a busy football schedule in Europe. Summer offers more space for sports content on television.

There would be a conflict with the previously planned World Track and Swimming Championships, including in Japan, but that international federation has already expressed its readiness to adapt. On Monday, the International Track Federation announced that it will move its 2021 World Championships to the following year.

“Everyone should be flexible and compromise,” the international track federation said in a statement.

The IOC and Tokyo 2020 pledged that the interruption of other planned events will be kept to a minimum, adding: “These new data will give health authorities and all those involved in organizing the Games the maximum time to deal with the ever-changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “

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