The Olympic Games in Tokyo are postponed, the Japanese Prime Minister revealed earlier today.
After hearing with the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, the two reached an agreement, which will delay the most important sports event in the world for at least one year. It is stated the last deadline for the Games is summer 2021, and not later than that.
“The IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games … 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,” wrote in the joint statement issued by the two parties.
It is still unknown what the options are if, by any chance, the Games are prevented from taking place until that deadline.
IOC and the organizers were under the massive pressure of the public in recent times, after their intention to stick to the plan and scenario which would see the games this year. At a certain point, the organizers from Japan denied the possibility of postponing the event, adding that the Games would proceed normally. That happened just seven days ago, when Seiko Hashimoto, the Olympic minister of Japan, told that he expects “complete” Games.
The Olympics have never been rescheduled in peacetime. In 1916, 1940 and 1944, the Games were canceled because of world wars. https://t.co/JMpggF9Z33
— CNN International (@cnni) March 24, 2020
However, the pressure from abroad started to pile up after his statement. As time went by, it grew bigger, and certain national Olympic Committees were threatening to boycott the Games. Eventually, the Canadian and the Australian committees decided not to send their athletes to Tokyo if the games are not delayed for at least one year.
Numerous sports institutions were also on their side, and several other nations indicated that they too might follow the same path. In the end, there were some indications that the situation might change, but nothing was official until today.
Many are worried about the athletes’ health, and are concerned about the possibility of the virus spreading easily at such a massive event. Also, some of the athletes demanded the postponement because their training processes have been ruined after the COVID-19 pandemic. All the gyms and places where they prepare for the Games have been shut down, preventing them from reaching the desired shape and, more importantly, from targeting the form properly.
One other agreement was also made today, and it concerned the Olympic torch. The two parties have reached a deal that the flame which was transferred from Greece recently, stays in Tokyo as a symbol of hope in these tough times.
“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 statement said.
The Coronavirus pandemic isn’t slowing down, but quite the opposite. Apparently, it is spreading pretty quickly, which is why most of the European countries had to take pretty tough measures in order to keep it restrained. As we speak, the situation in Italy and Spain is getting worse, and right now, these two countries have been struck the hardest. Each day thousands and thousands are being infected with hundreds of deaths recorded in these Mediterranean nations.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.