With healthy and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games. This decision was revealed by IOC member Dick Pound, who had previously informed reporters that a cancellation could be in play. The expectation is that the Olympics will be held in 2021, but those details are still being determined.
"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound said in a phone interview with USA Today. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."
The Summer Olympics were previously scheduled to begin on July 24 and run through Aug. 9. Now the IOC will search for a new time that the events can be held without concerns over the impact of coronavirus on those gathered in Tokyo.
This decision comes following multiple nations saying that they would not attend the Summer Olympics. Canada and Australia both revealed that they would not be sending athletes to Tokyo if the games were not postponed or canceled. The German Olympic Committee, as well as those in Brazil and Norway, made a strong push for a postponement and publicly urged the IOC to make the decision.
According to the report by USA Today, the games will not be canceled. IOC President Thomas Bach has ruled out the possibility and said that the committee would take the next four weeks to decide the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Games.
"It will come in stages," Pound said. "We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."
This postponement marks the first time that the Olympics have been suspended. There were previous cancellations due to ongoing conflicts. The 1916 Summer Games were canceled because of World War I. The Summer and Winter Games in 1940 and 1944 were both canceled due to World War II.
The Olympics are now the latest sporting event to be impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus. The NBA halted all operations on March 11 while the UFC, NASCAR, and MLB all postponed several events. The NFL still has plans to hold its annual draft team-building event, but there have been adjustments made. Fans will not be allowed to attend due to health and safety concerns, and numerous attractions have been canceled.
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