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Report: IOC member says 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed

A photographer takes pictures of the illuminated Olympic rings in front of the Rainbow Bridge on Jan. 24, 2020, in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press/TNS)
March 23, 2020

Another major sports domino has fallen from the calendar.

According to USA Today’s Christine Brennan, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said an official announcement is coming, and they will begin dealing with the “immense” ramifications of delaying the Games.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

The Tokyo Olympics had been slated for July 24-Aug. 9.

The pressure on the IOC had been mounting, with public pleas from USA Swimming and USA Track and Field over the weekend and Canada announcing Sunday night that it would not be sending any athletes to the Games. By Monday, Germany, Brazil and Norway were among the countries publicly urging for a delay.

IOC president Thomas Bach had just told the New York Times last week that postponement wasn’t being considered, but then shifted gears. In a letter to more than 11,000 athletes, Bach emphasized health over competition.

“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games,” Bach wrote. “The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus.”

Bach does not want to cancel the Olympics, which have only not occurred in years past because of World War I & II. Some have called for the Games to be delayed one year, which would present its own logistical complications.


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