The 2020 Olympic Games will be postponed, Richard Pound, former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), claimed in an interview with USA Today on Monday.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today in a phone interview. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Exclusive: 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed, likely to 2021, veteran IOC member Dick Pound says https://t.co/bNSJvxDhBN
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 23, 2020
His comments came a day after the IOC announced it would finalise discussions for a final decision within the next four weeks. The committee has come under mounting pressure from athletes and National Olympic Committees over the fate of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, addressed a letter to all Olympic athletes to provide them with an explanation of the IOC’s approach:
“Together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement. We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.”
This was the first time the IOC acknowledged postponement might be a possibility, however, complete cancellation is “not on the agenda”.
There have been more than 382,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide and more than 16,000 deaths, according to worldometer.info.
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees stated they wouldn’t be sending any of their athletes to Tokyo this summer after the IOC’s Sunday announcement. The German, Norwegian and Brazilian Olympic Committees, among other countries, have urged the IOC to postpone the Games.
The Olympic Games have only been cancelled during the Wars (1916, 1940 and 1944) and were suspended for 24 during the 1972 Munich Olympics because of a terrorist attack.
This is the first time in history the Olympics won’t take place as usual because of a pandemic.
The decision to postpone hasn’t officially been confirmed by the IOC nor the Tokyo 2020 organising committee at the time of writing.
UPDATE: The 2020 Olympic Games have officially been postponed by a year, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced. After a call with IOC President Thomas Bach, Japan’s Prime Minister told press the Olympic Games will be held by the summer of 2021.
After his telephone talks with IOC President Bach, PM Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021. pic.twitter.com/ihe8To2g3R
— PM's Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO) March 24, 2020