On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued the deferment of the 2020 Summer Olympics, following the global COVID-19 pandemic that has put a stop to daily life.
In a statement the IOC explained that the Tokyo 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.”
After both Canada and Australia decided to withdraw their athletes from the games Monday, the news came as no surprise. Pressure from anxious athletes, sports organizations and national Olympic committees to delay the original date was apparent. Nevertheless, the IOC said the games will still hold the name of 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Utter relief. Excitement. Uncertainty. We’re in unprecedented times,” Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe told CBC Sports.”We’ll be more ready than ever in 2021 and wearing the Maple Leaf with more pride than I thought was possible.”
A call between the IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo was made Tuesday morning, along with other IOC executives and Japan’s organizing committee, in order to reach a decision.
Although several Olympic games have previously been cancelled due to war, none have ever been postponed. With over 375,000 global cases and more than 17,000 deaths, it would be ultimately impossible to hold a gathering of such a large multitude in July.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope,” the IOC said in a statement.