Earlier this morning the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics & Paralympics will be pushed back a full year due to the COVID19 pandemic. The Olympic Games will now take place from July 23rd to August 8th 2021, and the Paralympic Games from August 24th to September 5th 2021. This marks the first postponement in Olympic history.
The IOC states that these decisions were made in consideration of three main principles:
- To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
- To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
- The global international sports calendar.
The Olympic Flame lighting ceremony took place on March 12th in Ancient Olympia, Greece, marking the beginning of the Olympic Torch Relay. Concerns soon began to arise about the games future as countless sports leagues across the globe had already been postponed or cancelled. Both the IOC and Japanese Government insisted that the games would go on as scheduled, but this narrative was short lived as the Canadian Olympic Committee announced on March 23rd that they would not send its athletes if the games were still held in 2020. On March 24th the IOC announced that the Olympics were officially postponed to 2021, taking place no later than summer. IOC President, Thomas Bach, stated that “The Olympic flame can become the light at the end of this dark tunnel.” With the new dates officially set in stone, this places the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games just 8 months before the Beijing 2022 Winter Games.