“To safeguard the health of the athletes and everyone involved in the Tokyo 2020 Games and international community, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will now take place no later than summer 2021,” it read.
“This decision was made following talks today by the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, and representatives from the Government of Japan.”
The news comes as little surprise, given that the Games - which were originally expected to kick off on July 24th - had received unprecedented pressure to respond to the public’s concern over the coronavirus crisis. And, after both the Canadian and Australian teams were pulled from the competition this week, it seemed to force their hand.
Japanese President Shinzo Abe says delaying the event is the right call and that he and the IOC President Thomas Bach are in “100 per cent” agreement over the matter.
“We 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,” Abe explained in a statement.
This will be the first time in history that the Games will be postponed, and also the first time a Summer Olympic Games will occur during a leap year.