Coronavirus: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games officially postponed

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are officially postponed. KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP

Text by: Farid Achache Follow

The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, have been postponed "no later than the summer of 2021" due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Paralympic Games scheduled to take place from August 25 to September 6 will also be held on a new date.


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The Tokyo Olympics originally scheduled for summer 2020 have been postponed " no later than summer 2021 " due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Tuesday 24 March.

Since the first edition in 1896, this is the first postponement of the Olympic Games outside of a war period. This postponement is therefore a first for the Olympic Games of the modern era in peacetime.

Pressure from the sports world

For several days, voices were raised for the postponement of the largest sports group on the planet. Some nations, such as Canada, have already announced that they will not send their athletes this summer if the Olympics are held. In France, several confined athletes hoped for this outcome. The very powerful international athletics federation, the number one sport in the Olympic Games, had taken a clear position, saying that opening the Games on July 24 was " neither feasible nor desirable ", according to its president Sebastian Coe. The Swiss National Committee officially requested the postponement of the Olympic Games on Monday.

Today, most sports competitions are stopped on all continents, where more than a billion people have to stay at home, with often drastic confinement measures.

" Under the current circumstances and based on information provided today (Tuesday) by the World Health Organization (WHO), the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Tokyo Olympics should be reprogrammed after 2020 and at the latest in the summer of 2021, in order to safeguard the health of athletes and all those involved in the Olympic Games as well as the international community , "announced the IOC in a press release.

Postponement, a very complex operation

Shortly before, in Tokyo, after a conference call with IOC President Thomas Bach, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he had offered to postpone the Olympic Games for about a year and that the President of CIO had " accepted 100% ".

These Olympic Games, which will always be called OJ 2020, will be " the testimony of the defeat of the virus " in the face of humanity, launched Shinzo Abe. In the meantime, the Olympic torch relay, which was due to start on Thursday, has also been postponed.

This postponement is a huge blow to the city of Tokyo and Japan, who have been preparing thoroughly for years. The Japanese authorities and the IOC have long been reluctant to officially consider changing the Olympic calendar.

The IOC had indicated last Sunday that it was giving itself four weeks to make a decision which will have been ultimately faster. Postponing such a gigantic event is a " very complex operation ", Thomas Bach warned on Saturday in an interview with the German regional media SWR. " Postponing the Olympic Games is not like postponing a football match to the following Saturday ," argued the IOC president.

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  • OJ 2020
  • Coronavirus
  • Japan