Tokyo, Japan – The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee have officially announced their decision to postpone the Games in Japan over concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
The Tokyo Olympics will be postponed until 2021 after talks between Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach. The Summer Olympics are the latest sporting event to fall prey to the coronavirus. The spread of COVID-19 has interrupted qualifiers and affected the olympic training.
Canada and Australia will not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak, the Olympic committees for both countries said in separate statements. Both countries’ Olympic committees also are calling for the Games to be postponed until 2021.
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced they will not send a delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they were postponed. Australia’s Olympic Committee released a statement less than a day later, stating that its executive board had agreed that “an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.”
Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said athletes should prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. “The athletes desperately want to go to the games… but they also take onboard their own personal health”, Carroll told reporters in Sydney on Monday. Brazil, Norway, and the German Olympic Committees have urged the IOC to postpone the Games.
The decision to postpone by the IOC marks a significant milestone. It is the first time the Olympics have been suspended, though the Games have been canceled in times of war. The 1916 Summer Games were canceled because of World War I, as were the Summer and Winter Games in 1940 and 1944 because of World War II. Boycotts also caused serious complications for the Games in 1976, 1980 and 1984. But in each case, the event itself went on as scheduled.