The Olympic Rings are pictured in entrance of the headquarters of the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020.
Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will open on July 23, 2021, organisers stated Monday, asserting the brand new date after the Video games had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes lower than per week after the organisers had been pressured to delay the Video games underneath heavy stress from athletes and sports activities federations as the worldwide outbreak worsened.
“The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5,” Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori instructed reporters at a rapidly organized night information convention.
Solely hours earlier, Mori had stated he anticipated a call from the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) throughout the course of the week.
However on Monday night, he stated an emergency teleconference had been held with the IOC and the date finalised.
“We agreed that the timing of the event will be in summer as originally planned, considering the coronavirus… and a certain amount of time needed for preparations, selection, and qualification of athletes,” he added.
In an announcement, the IOC stated the brand new dates would give well being authorities and organisers “the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The choice would additionally trigger “minimum” disruption to the worldwide sports activities calendar, the physique stated.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics had been because of open on July 24 this 12 months and run for 16 days, however the coronavirus pandemic pressured the primary peace-time postponement of the Video games.
The IOC and Japan had for weeks insisted the present may go on however the speedy unfold of COVID-19 prompted rising disquiet amongst athletes and sporting federations.
The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus that has worn out fixtures worldwide and all however halted skilled sport.
There was some hypothesis that Japanese organisers may make the most of the clean canvas to shift the Video games to spring, avoiding the warmth of the Tokyo summer season that had been their important concern earlier than coronavirus struck.
Because of the warmth, the marathon has been moved to Sapporo, a metropolis some 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the north of Tokyo the place the climate is cooler even on the top of summer season.
The postponement has handed organisers the “unprecedented” job of rearranging an occasion seven years within the making, and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto has admitted the extra prices shall be “massive”.
In response to the newest funds, the Video games had been because of price $12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the federal government of Japan and Tokyo metropolis.
Nonetheless, that quantity is hotly contested with a much-publicised authorities audit suggesting the central authorities was spending a number of occasions that quantity — on objects organisers declare are solely tangentially associated to the Olympics.
– ‘Mankind’s victory’ –
The postponement impacts each side of the organisation — lodges, ticketing, venues and transport being among the many main complications.
Accommodations have needed to cancel bookings, dealing them a bitter blow at a time when tourism is already being hammered by the coronavirus.
Some venues that had booked occasions years prematurely will doubtlessly should scrap them to make means for the rescheduled Olympics and there’s nonetheless uncertainty about whether or not ticket-holders will get refunded.
One other thorny subject is the athletes’ village, which was because of be transformed into luxurious residences after the Video games, a few of which have already discovered patrons.
The Japanese authorities had touted the Video games because the “Recovery Olympics”, designed to point out how the nation had bounced again from the 2011 triple catastrophe of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown within the northeastern Fukushima area.
The Video games are actually being billed because the expression of humanity’s overcome the coronavirus.
“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel,” IOC chief Thomas Bach stated in Monday’s assertion asserting the brand new date.
“These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
Mori earlier warned that organisers had been confronted with an “unprecedented challenge.”
“But I believe it is the mission of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee to hold the Olympics and Paralympics next year as a proof of mankind’s victory” towards the virus.