The 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But while it looks like the Olympics will take place in 2021, it's also likely it will be postponed again. Set to take place in Tokyo, Japan, the Olympics could be in doubt for next year due to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring a state emergency earlier this week. This has led to the chief executive of the Tokyo Games to hint the Olympics could be in trouble for next year.
"I don't think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not," Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said at a news conference, per the Associated Press. "We're certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer." The rescheduled Olympics are set to begin on July 23, 2021. The Paralympics have a start date of Aug. 24.
Currently, Japan has 5,000 people tested positive for COVID-19, and around 100 people have died from the disease. It's unclear if things will get better by this time next year, but the postponement will give officials time to prepare instead of pushing it back a few months from the original date.
"We have made the decision to postpone the games by one year," Muto added. "So this means that all we can do is work hard to prepare for the games. We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis." When talking about alternative plans if they have to postpone again, Muto said: "Rather than think about alternatives plans, we should put in all of our effort. Mankind should bring together all of its technology and wisdom to work hard so they can development treatments, medicines and vaccines."
"These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" the IOC said in a news release last month. The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented."