The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Summer Olympics, as well as the Paralympic Games, were both scheduled to be held in Tokyo from June to September 2020. According to a joint statement by Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee (ICO) president, Thomas Bach they have been postponed to summer of 2021 at the latest.
“[The Olympics] 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,” the statement announced.
Abe also told journalists that they have “agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators.” Before the announcement, Canada had already withdrawn its athletes from the event.
In a prior statement, Bach had claimed that there were no plans to cancel the Olympic Games, seeing as they were still months away. However, seeing as the spread of the coronavirus has only picked up pace in the last couple of weeks, a postponement seemed to have been inevitable.
But apparently the Games will still be called the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, even though they’ll take place next year.
“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,” Bach and Abe’s statement read. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
The delay of the Games is not only disappointing to the athletes who have been training for years or the fans who have been looking forward to the event. It is also a major hit to Japan, the host country, that has already invested a substantial amount of money (more than $12 billion to be precise) as well as the sponsors. According to an estimate by Goldman Sachs, Japan will lose $4.5 billion in incoming and domestic consumption this year if the Olympics don’t take place.