Update: (as of March 24, 2020) According to Olympic.org, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, as well as Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, joined a conference call this morning to discuss the 2020 Olympic Games.
In a statement, the committee said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating” but there are more than 375,000 cases recorded worldwide, which is increasing by the hour.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII 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.
“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. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
The Summer 2020 Olympic Games – the world’s largest sporting event – has officially been postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
This year’s event is slated to take place in Tokyo from Friday, July 24th to Sunday, August 9th. However, as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, an IOC member said that the 2020 event will need to be postponed out of safety precautions. The member, Dick Pound, told USA Today that the games will likely be postponed to 2021, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Pound went on to note that the IOC will explain its next steps soon and will come in stages. He said that the ramifications of the move are “immense.”
The postponement follows news over the weekend from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees, which said they would not send a delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they are postponed. Additionally, Australias aid that a team “could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.” Other countries, including Germany, Brazil, and Norway, followed suite, urging the IOC to postpone.
Postponing the Olympic Games is by far the biggest move in the sports industry. So far, the NBA halted its season, the MLB delayed the start to 2020 games, and the NHL and MLS suspended operations indefinitely. Other major sporting events like the BNP Paribas Open have been cancelled, while the, Masters Tournament and Kentucky Derby have been postponed. This will be the first time the Olympics have been postponed, aside from cancellations during World War I and World War II in 1916 and 1944, respectively.
The 2020 Olympics may have been the hottest-selling ticket of the year; a spokesperson for CoSport told the Wall Street Journal that the Tokyo 2020 ticket lottery registered the highest numbers to date, with 54% higher than London’s numbers.
We’ll update this story as more information regarding the 2020 Olympic Games becomes available.