One of the largest questions following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to 2021 was how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would handle the necessary revisions to the qualification process. Currently it is estimated that 57% of the total athlete quota has been filled with roughly 5000 spots open. The division in charge of the qualification process, the IOC Qualification Task Force, has passed three amendments in order to address the concerns from athletes around the world.
First, the athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics will be able to keep their spots for next summer. Second, the deadline for qualification has been extended to June 29th, 2021. Third, age restrictions that would prohibit athletes from competing in 2021 but not in 2020 can be extended. The specific timing of the rescheduled qualifying events will keep athlete health as its highest priority.
The task force also stated that, “The IOC recognizes the sensitivity of such decisions. A sport-specific balance needs to be found between protecting those athletes who were close to qualifying based on the previous 2020 deadlines and also ensuring the participation of the best athletes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by allowing the top performers of the 2021 season to qualify.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now scheduled to take place from July 23rd through August 8th in summer 2021.