It’s Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, IOC & Japanese Prime Minister Confirm

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Tokyo 2020 To Become Tokyo 2021

The International Olympic Committee has announced the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021 “at the latest” as the coronavirus (COVID-21) pandemic continues its relentless march across the world.

The decision marks the first time in Olympic history that the Games have been postponed. The Olympics of 1916, 1940 and 1944 were cancelled owing to the First and Second World Wars.

The Games will remain as Tokyo 2020 in brand and name in Tokyo 2021.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe had earlier confirmed plans for a one-year delay to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to summer 2021. In a short address to the Japanese media, he also said that Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was in “100% agreement”.

The Japanese leader told the Japanese media before a joint IOC/Tokyo 2020 statement was issued (in full below):

“I proposed to postpone for about a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement. This will make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and will make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.’

Among the first Olympic champions to react was Britain’s Adam Peaty, who is aiming to defend the 100m breaststroke crown, now at Tokyo 2021.

Five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky and London 2012 100m breaststroke gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh – who revealed on Sunday he had been battling the coronavirus for the past fortnight – also responded.

Our Coverage On A First For Olympic History

The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subject to a one-year delay.

A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee read:

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, 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, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

‘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.

“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.'”

Postponement of the Games was announced following an Executive Board meeting and a conference call between Prime Minister Abe and Bach earlier today.

The Tokyo 2021 Statement In Full:

“THE PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC), THOMAS BACH, AND THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN, ABE SHINZO, HELD A CONFERENCE CALL THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS THE CONSTANTLY CHANGING ENVIRONMENT WITH REGARD TO COVID-19 AND THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020.

“They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.

“President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.

“In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.

“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, 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, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

“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. 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 IOC board’s agenda had already been set by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the decisions of major stakeholders around the world, athletes to the fore, calling for postponement:

Canada had already said that it will not send a team to Tokyo this summer, while Australia’s travel ban effectively ruled out Australia’s participation before the Canadian announcement on Sunday evening.

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Vladimir Salnikov – Photo Courtesy: Maria Dobysheva

Russian Swimming Federation President Vladimir Salnikov has weighed in on the postponement decision, saying the decision was difficult but logical.

“Given that many athletes were held hostage by the situation and could not continue to train, of course, this caused great concern about the possibility of adequately performing at the Tokyo Olympics in the time frame that should have been.

“The fact that the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo can be considered positive. Now we expect everyone to mobilize to continue training. Do not give up. I hope that by the next year we will be able to prepare well.

“There is a lot of work ahead to review the calendar of competitions for this and subsequent years. All international and national federations will be engaged in this task.”

The Russian Federation was notably banned from international competition in December, which feels like a lifetime ago. But with the decision being sent to an appeal, the Russians will still be allowed to compete under their flag for the time being.

The World Anti-Doping Agency, which has been altering its practices in recent weeks to accommodate new regulations around the coronavirus outbreak, also voiced its support for postponement.  From WADA President Witold Banka:

“The health and safety of the athletes remains the number-one priority for WADA and the anti-doping community, and it is clear that the correct decision has been taken in this challenging and unprecedented situation. As we all come to terms with the impact of this pandemic, it is clear that there are a number of challenges being faced related to the testing of athletes at this time. We will continue to monitor that situation to mitigate the effect of any interruptions to the program.”

The Athlete Voice

Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Peaty released a statement saying that while disappointed as an athlete, he fully supported the decision as “it is a matter of life and death”.

Ledecky, who has a haul of six medals from two Olympics, posted on social media, saying:

Van der Burgh added a positive note as he looked to Tokyo 2021, saying:

Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the triple Olympic champion from the Netherlands, said on social media: “On to Tokyo 2021!

Lizzie Simmonds, who was fourth in the 200m backstroke at London 2012, posted on social media, saying:

British rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave, currently the high-performance director of China’s national rowing team, told the Daily Mail in Britain:

“I certainly believe that a year’s delay makes a lot of sense. It gives people the time to potentially get back into training and preparation and get their lives back on track. Hopefully the situation in 12 months’ time will be a lot better than it is now. I would also guess that it would be easier to have a total year delay, than it is a potential October date, with all the processes of road closures and logistics from the city’s point of view.

‘Until there is a vaccine for coronavirus, the chances are it could bounce back at any stage, so you would hope that any sports body would be very cautious about staging any event at this particular time. But what we are going through is much, much bigger than sport.”

Water Polo Welcomes The Move:

From Chris Ramsey, CEO, USA Water Polo

“We support the decision to delay the Tokyo Games until they can be held safely. There are still many questions to be answered, and we will be working with our athletes and the USOPC to manage the challenges that remain, including a new training and competition schedule when it is appropriate to return to the pool.”

From Adam Krikorian, Head Coach, U.S. Senior Women’s Water Polo Team

“We would like to thank the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee for understanding the unique situation that’s upon us and demonstrating flexibility with this unprecedented decision.

“As challenging as this has been for our athletes, it pales in comparison to what so many are going through. The priority for all of us at this moment should simply be to make sure we continue to do our part to help fight this virus and support those who are so courageously on the front lines.

“When the time comes to resume training, our new dream will entail being a small part of what we hope will be a historic event that brings the world together in an epic display of peace, unity, and compassion for humanity.”

From Dejan Udovicic, Head Coach, U.S. Senior Men’s Water Polo Team

“We understand the need to postpone the Olympic Games at this time. We know there are things much bigger than sports in life and right now health and safety must take priority.

“We look forward to the Olympic Games, whenever they may take place and our team will be ready. We appreciate all the support from the water polo community and beyond and hope everyone is staying safe.

11 comments

  1. Zouaoui Leena

    Oumayma Trabelsi wakhrouha ala khtrk w concour mtek ya khra😂
    Nchlh kima nrawk fyha am jey ❤

    • Oumayma Trabelsi

      Zouaoui Leena 😂😂😂😂 yhlkeek ye khra 😂😂 ❤❤❤

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