The official decision has been made to delay the impending Tokyo Summer Olympics by both the International Olympics Committee and Japan. The report, which comes from The New York Times, says months of internal talk led to the postponement after a slew of countries pushed for it. Now, the Tokyo Games are slated to take place in 2021 rather than this July.
The announcement was given by the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, earlier today. The choice was made knowing full well the havoc it would have on the schedules of competing athletes. The journey to qualifying for an Olympic team is difficult enough, and those athletes will have to continue training at peak form for an extra year to make Tokyo. But for the thousands of athletes out there dreaming of winning a gold medal, the challenge will be worth it.
Of course, that isn't even to mention the peace of mind given by the move. Many athletes, staffers, and volunteers were no doubt worried about the inevitably of contracting the novel coronavirus at such a packed, international event. The reason for delaying became clear this past weekend when Canada confirmed it was officially withdrawing from the Tokyo Games, and it was quickly joined by Australia.
Yesterday, things came to a head when the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee stood against the choice to host the games this summer. In the past weeks, the IOC has stated cancelling the Tokyo Games wasn't even on the table for discussion, but this postponement gives both the board and Japanese officials time to organize around the ongoing pandemic.
When Abe made his official request to postpone the games, IOC president Thomas Bach gave his full approval. This event's move is a massive undertaking, but it is one of several sporting events which have closed due to the pandemic. Earlier this month, the NBA suspended its entire season in light of the virus with other organizations like the NHL following suit.
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