Coronavirus: Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 over pandemic

Wednesday, 25 Mar, 2020

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed on Tuesday into 2021, the first such delay in the Games' 124-year modern history, as the coronavirus crisis wrecked the last global sporting showpiece still standing this year.

After that call, Abe confirmed to reporters in a media briefing that he had agreed with Bach's suggestion that the Games be delayed until next year, with the Tokyo Olympics now set to be held by the summer of 2021 at the latest.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said on Monday that the games would be postponed.

World Rugby has hailed the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics Games until 2021, while New Zealand's two-time Olympic track medallist Nick Willis did what athletes do - he went off for a training run.

The track worlds are scheduled for August 6-15, which obviously won't work if the Tokyo Olympics are pushed back a full year to roughly the same spot on the calendar as this year's games - July 24-Aug. 9.

This, in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has infected over 377,000 people globally and caused several sporting events to grind to a halt.

The scale of next year's Olmypics is yet to be decided, Toshiro Muto, Tokyo 2020's chief executive officer, said in a separate briefing.

"It must have been very concerning and worrisome for athletes to try to maintain their physical condition, so I appreciate that a decision was made", she said.

Before the official announcement, Abe said Bach had agreed with his proposal for a one-year postponement.

It follows yesterday's claim by former International Olympic Committee vice-president Richard Pound that Tokyo 2020 will be delayed, most likely until 2021.

International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons: "Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do".

The coronavirus pandemic has made it all but impossible for aspiring Olympians to train and, in many cases, qualify for a July event. The coronavirus has also forced a number of high-profile qualifying competitions to be canceled or postponed.

While the 38-year-old Swiss says she "fully supports" the decision to postpone the Games, she will discuss her options "with my family and team" in the coming weeks as to whether to extend her sporting career until next year.

Canada and Australia had already stated that they would not be sending their respective teams to Japan due to fears over the safety of competitors and coaching staff.

"My heart goes out to the working committee of the Tokyo Olympics, SNOC and all affected athletes around the world".

In the past, food marketers have used Olympic campaigns to launch new packaging such as Kellogg cereal boxes, and even new products, such as Hershey's Gold, a candy bar launched 100 days before the 2018 Winter Games that was featured in a campaign starring eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno. However, it's becoming increasingly apparent that even if conditions in Japan were to somehow improve enough to make large-scale sporting events not a danger for transmission of the virus among spectators and competitors, the global scale of the epidemic are making Olympic-level training and preparation now impossible for athletes around the globe.