After months of “international persuasion” the IOC and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe have finally agreed to postpone the Olympic Games until 2021. The IOC has been facing increased criticism for their persuasive attempts to host the games on their usual timetable despite the increasing COVID-19 epidemic. However, over the past few months, Japan held its ground stating that they could provide all the necessary provisions to make the games a huge success.
The announcement came stating that the event will still be dubbed as Tokyo 2020 despite it being pushed further a year. “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,” said a statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
“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.” “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.”
This is perhaps the first time that the games are canceled during peacetime. The only time that the games were canceled were 1916, 1940 and 1944 and those were because of the ongoing world wars. It seemed that in the beginning, the IOC was considering factors that would include modifying the Games so that they could still take place in July as scheduled.
A format such as televising the events was completely was at the forefront. However, the words “postponed” did not even escape the lips of the officials until late Thursday. As the news of the Games postponing hit the news, many athletes praised the committee for their decisive actions. However, a small portion of the athletes seemed a little disheartened as they would have to wait an extra year to represent their country in the biggest sporting event in the world.