Coronavirus: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed

Andy Dixon and Jane McGuire
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images

From Runner's World

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Games were due to be held from July 24 to August 9.

When will the Olympic Games take place?

There has not been a date announced so far, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed they will be ‘no later than summer 2021’.

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said, ‘I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement.’

Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI - Getty Images

On 22 March, it was announced that the International Olympic Committee had been given four weeks to decide whether the Games would be postponed. Australia and Canada have already announced they will not compete in Japan this summer and today Great Britain said they would pull out if the spread of coronavirus was as predicted.

‘We can't see any way that this can go ahead as things are constituted. I expect we will be joining Canada and Australia shortly,’ said British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson.

‘I think it is very simple. If the virus continues as predicted by the government, I don't think there is any way we can send a team,’ Robertson added.

‘First, I don't see any way that the athletes and Team GB could be ready by then. Elite training facilities are perfectly understandably and quite correctly closed around the country, so there is no way they could undertake the preparation they need to get ready for a Games.’

The right to cancel the Games lies with the IOC. Only three Games have been cancelled since the modern Olympiad began in 1896, all because of war. The 1916 Olympics, due to take place in Berlin, were cancelled because of the First World War, while the 1940 Games, to be hosted by Tokyo, were pulled after the outbreak of the Second World War. Four years later, London was due to host, but with the war still raging Britain’s capital had to wait until 1948, three years after the end of the war, for the Games to finally take place.

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