- The coronavirus pandemic forced the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to delay the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
- The Tokyo Summer Games will now kick off in 2021 and will run from July 23th through August 8th.
- Any athlete who already qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics will be automatically qualified for the 2021 Summer Olympics.
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When the NBA canceled its season nearly three weeks ago, a lot of people thought the decision was overkill. With the benefit of hindsight, and with the coronavirus still spreading across the United States, it’s now abundantly clear that the NBA was way ahead of the curve. Before long, the entire sports world was put on pause as March Madness was canceled, along with MLB spring training, European soccer, and everything in between.
The longest holdout, however, was the Olympics. Originally set to take place in Tokyo, Japan this summer, the IOC waited until last week to officially cancel the Summer Games. And now the IOC has issued a new schedule for what will now be referred to as the 2021 games. Specifically, the Summer Olympics next year will run from July 23rd through August 8th.
According to the IOC, the delay and subsequent new dates chosen were made with the following considerations in mind:
- To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
- To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
- The global international sports calendar.
With the 2020 Olympics initially scheduled to run from July 24th through August 9th, there was initially some hope that the coronavirus would be nothing more than distant memory by then. However, given the immense amount of logistics and planning that goes into putting on an event as massive in scope as the Olympics, coupled with the fact that the coronavirus is not anywhere close to being contained, the writing was on the wall.
The IOC’s press release further adds:
These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020), also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.
It’s worth noting that any athlete who previously qualified for the 2020 games will automatically have a spot reserved for the 2021 games.