The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been rescheduled to start on July 23, 2021 after being postponed due to coronavirus, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed.
The Games will run until August 8, taking up the same slot as originally scheduled for 2020, while the Paralympic Games will now take place from August 24 to September 5.
“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,” a joint statement from the IOC, International Paralympic Committee, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Japanese Government read.
“The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 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 international federations.
“Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.”
Dame Kelly Holmes is pleased the Tokyo Olympic Games has only been postponed and not cancelled altogether.
The Executive Board of the Organisers of Tokyo 2020 met on Monday and announced the required number of volunteers had been reached, and will now be asking those who have confirmed their roles if they would participate in the rescheduled Games.
Torchbearers who were confirmed for the postponed Torch Relay will also be given priority selection for next year’s Olympic Torch Relay.
Organisers are working on measures to ensure purchased tickets will be valid for corresponding rescheduled events next year and that face value refunds are given to ticket holders who cannot attend events in 2021.
In addition, the organisers have announced all 18 Olympic Test events from April 2020 onwards are postponed.
Paralympians Hannah Cockroft and Nathan Maguire react to the Tokyo Games postponement and how it will affect their preparations
‘Olympics can be light at the end of a dark tunnel’
IOC president Thomas Bach hopes next year’s Tokyo Games can help lead the world out of a “dark tunnel” following the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “We are all humankind. We are in a very dark tunnel at this moment in time. And we do not know how long this tunnel will be.
“But we are confident that, with these Olympic Games at these new dates, then we can be a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
“And we can, therefore, give hope to the athletes of the world – but also to the wider public – that there is something happening there [in Tokyo] next year which can unite the world. And as [Japan] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe said, ‘unite the world’.
“Then, hopefully in a celebration, offer humanity a victory against this virus.”