2020 Olympics Postponed due to Coronavirus Pandemic


The International Olympic Committee moved to postpone Olympic games one year amidst global health crisis.

The state of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, was uncertain for months as the spread of COVID-19 forced the world to come to a grinding halt. Late last month, the  International Olympic Committee (IOC), along with the Prime Minister of Japan agreed to postpone the event one year as the path of the virus remains unclear. 

The WHO’s discretion against long distance travel and large gatherings directly impacted the decision to postpone the summer games.  “[The decision was made for] the health of the athletes and everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and to make a contribution to the containment of the Coronavirus,” said IOC president, Thomas Bach, in a video message to olympic athletes. An estimated 10,000 athletes and 600,000 spectators were expected to travel from across the world for the opening ceremony in July [NY Times].

Some countries made the decision to pull their athletes from the gamesSummer Olympics before the IOC officially announced the postponement. Canada and Australia declared their withdrawal from the games in late March as the coronavirus reached the pandemic level [CNBC]. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” stated Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Committee. 

Olympic athletes from around the globe expressed their disappointment, but continue to stand behind the IOC’s decision as the state of the virus continues to worsen. “It’s obviously disappointing, but it was certainly the right call,” said Olympic swimmer, Katie Ledecky, in an interview with CNN. “I think we all expected it as we saw how things were going around the world and here in the US.” 

The Olympics will be held in Tokyo almost exactly one year from the original start date, and will still be called the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” [ESPN]. The games will start on July 23, 2021, and will conclude on Aug 8 [NY Times].