Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 postponed

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were due to run from 24th July to 9th August, but have now been postponed until next year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

The event will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.

In a joint statement, the organisers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC said: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.

“In the present circumstances, the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021. This is to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

The Paralympics were due to start on 25 August but International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons said the postponement was “the only logical option”.

World Athletics president Lord Coe said: “The athletes have been under intolerable conditions, many of them are unable to train and many have been going through real emotional turmoil.

Coe, who was chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, said World Athletics was looking at moving the 2021 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, to 2022.

The Olympics have never been delayed in their 124-year modern history, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during World War One and World War Two.

Major Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles summer Games in 1980 and 1984.

While the Games is the biggest sporting event to be affected by the pandemic, there has been a huge impact on a host of other major tournaments and sports:

  • In rugby union, the end of this year’s Six Nations was postponed, with four outstanding fixtures to be rearranged in the men’s tournament.
  • In football, Euro 2020 was postponed and will be played in the summer of 2021, while the sport is suspended in the UK until 30 April at the earliest.
  • The first eight grands prix of the Formula 1 season have been delayed, with the Monaco Grand Prix cancelled.
  • County cricket in England and Wales will not be played before 28 May, while England’s three-Test series against West Indies, due to start at The Oval on 4 June, is in doubt.
  • All forms of professional tennis have been postponed until 7 June, ruling out the clay-court season, while the French Open – the year’s second Grand Slam, has been rescheduled for September.
  • Golf’s Masters and PGA Championship have both been postponed, with a decision yet to be made about September’s Ryder Cup.
  • The London Marathon has been moved from 26 April to 4 October.
  • The IOC had given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying the Games but there had been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees and athletes demanding a quicker decision.

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