2020 Summer Olympics Officially Postponed - By Liz Jeneault - J-Pop Exchange Information & Views
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2020 Summer Olympics Officially Postponed

By Elizabeth Jeneault for The J-Pop Exchange

After longtime International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today Monday that the Summer Olympics will be postponed, Japan’s prime minister and the IOC president confirmed that news Tuesday.

“The IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXIII 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,” stated the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee in a press release distributed Tuesday.

There had been mounting pressure in recent days for the decision to be made.

The IOC had said on Sunday that it was considering the possibility of postponing the Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that it would think about various scenarios and make the official decision within four weeks. Athletes and teams weren’t happy with that timetable, though, and several announced they would not take part in the Games if they weren’t postponed.

It seems the mounting pressure from athletes and Pound’s interview with USA Today Monday may have influenced Abe and Bach to make the official announcement about postponement sooner than planned.

Many athletes say they’re relieved the Games have been postponed.

“I do believe this is the right thing to do to ensure the health of spectators, workers, healthcare systems and athletes around the world,” women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd told USA Today.

Many of those athletes have not been able to train as they normally would, as their gyms are closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Others are taking care of family members or are under a great deal of mental and financial stress.

While it’s unclear when exactly the Olympics will now take place, Abe and Bach say it will happen sometime before summer 2021.

Despite the postponement, the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Olympic flame will also remain lit in Japan.

“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,” wrote the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.”

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