NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics has officially been postponed.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, agreed to postpone the games early this morning.
Both sides agreed that the games should not be cancelled, but rather moved to 2021.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” Abe said following the meeting.
The Olympics has never before been delayed, but the games were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars.
The global event will be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, according to the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee said later in a joint statement.
The statement explained the decision was made to “safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community”.
The games will also still be called the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” even if they are held next year, and the Olympic flame will stay in Japan “as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times”.
“The IOC will always put the health and welfare of the athletes, patrons, sponsors and the 206 NOC’s around the world first,” said Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) president Romell Knowles on the Coronavirus’ impact on the games.
“At no point did we have any doubts about this.”