It's official — Tokyo's Summer 2020 Olympics are being postponed amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. After reports surfaced the previous day that the Games would be pushed back as people are urged not to gather in large numbers, CNN confirmed that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced he had reached an agreement with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to postpone the Olympics for about one year. Summer 2021 is now the latest that these Olympics could be held, according to Abe.
IOC member Dick Pound had previously revealed the cancellation plans in a phone call with USA Today Monday, saying, "On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided. The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know. ...[Planning] will come in stages. We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."
The decision to postpone the games comes after a number of countries vowed not to attend the Games if they were not postponed or canceled, including Canada and Australia. The German Olympic Committee, as well as those in Brazil and Norway, also publicly pushed for postponement and urged the IOC to make the call sooner rather than later.
Sunday, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee released a statement: "While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community."
"This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games," the statement continued. "In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow."
United States President Donald Trump responded in a tweet soon after, writing, "We will be guided by the wishes of Prime Minister Abe of Japan, a great friend of the United States and a man who has done a magnificent job on the Olympic Venue, as to attending the Olympic Games in Japan. He will make the proper decision!"
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