Due to the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19, the IOC President, Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call on Tuesday (24th) morning, and agreed to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year. This will be the first postponement of the 124-year history of the modern Olympics.
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. Abe said that the IOC has begun discussions on the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, taking into account the athlete’s preparation period, they decided to propose to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for one year. He said that the proposal was “100% agreed” by Bach, and he hopes to host the Olympic Games in a complete form next year “to prove that humans have overcome the New Corona Virus.”
Abe explained that based on the global epidemic, it is believed that currently is difficult to host the Olympics. He said, “In order to ensure that athletes can compete under the best conditions and to provide a safe and reliable Olympic Games for spectators, we decided to propose the postponement” He also praised the IOC’s decision to comply with Japan’s guidelines for hosting a complete Olympics, and asked the IOC to set up the postponement timetable as soon as possible. Bach will meet with IOC members on Wednesday (25th) to reach a final decision within one month.
Kyodo News said that postponing a large-scale sports event will unavoidably wound the sports world, and will also bring huge effects on politics, the economy and society. Japan will need to readjust the venue, accommodation facilities and volunteer arrangements, and it is expected to face difficult challenges. Since 1896, the modern Olympic Games have been cancelled in 1916, 1940, and 1944 only because of the two world wars, but never been postponed.
IOC senior member Dick Pound told the USA Today on Monday (23rd) that the IOC has decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics with the greatest opportunity to postpone it for one year and will discuss details in the next four weeks. The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a statement on the same day stating that it supports the postponement of Tokyo Olympics, and also said that it received 1,780 national team members’ opinions related to Tokyo Olympics. It was concluded that even if the epidemic was relieved before the end of summer, it is believed that the huge impact on training environment for athletes and the procedures of doping control will not be satisfied.