Olympics Postponed

March 24, 2020
GAME DELAY This monument to the Olympics stands in Tokyo, Japan, where the 2020 games have been pushed to next summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
YUKIHITO TAGUCHI—USA TODAY SPORTS/SIPA USA

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games, in Tokyo, Japan, will be postponed for about a year. This is because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That announcement was made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday, March 24. The IOC said the games will be held “not later than summer 2021” but will still be called the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, made the decision “to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community,” an IOC statement said.

The Summer Olympics were set to run from July 24 through August 9. They join a long list of major sporting events put off or canceled due to the risks from COVID-19. For months, athletes and health officials have pressed the IOC to delay the games.

The IOC said that keeping the Olympic flame burning until 2021 could help the world heal from the pandemic. “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope . . . during these troubled times,” it said.

Never before have the Olympic Games been postponed. But they have been canceled, in 1916, 1940, and 1944—during World War I and World War II.