The International Olympic Committee announced the first of its kind postponement of the Summer Olympics on Tuesday, bowing to the realities of the coronavirus pandemic, which closes daily life around the world and makes the planning of mass gatherings in July a virtual impossibility.
The IOC stated that the Tokyo Games "should be rescheduled after 2020, but no later than the summer of 2021, in order to preserve the health of athletes, all participants in the Olympic Games and the international community."
It was an announcement that was almost perceived as a belief that nervous athletes, sports organizations and national Olympic committees were under pressure – all of which contradicted the reality that training schedules and qualifications, not to mention international anti-doping protocols, were broken not recoverable.
The IOC also stated that the Games will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Great relief. Excitement. Uncertainty. We are in unprecedented times, ”said Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe. On March 14, she completed her second Olympic qualifying tournament in Ottawa. “We will be more prepared than ever in 2021 and will wear maple leaf with more pride than I thought.”
IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo met over the telephone on Tuesday morning, and they, along with a handful of IOC leaders and the Japan Organizing Committee, agreed to make the call.
WATCH | Canadian athletes are weighed for deferment:
Pressure set to set aside
Other Olympic games – 1916, 1940 and 1944 – were canceled due to war, but not one of them was ever delayed for any reason, not to mention the renegade virus, which accounts for more than 375,000 cases throughout the world, and their number is growing exponentially. The Tokyo Games will continue to be called the 2020 Olympic Games, even if they take place in 2021.
“Leaders agreed that the Tokyo Olympics could be a beacon of hope,” the IOC said in a statement.
The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee issued a joint statement:
“COC and CPC would like to thank President Thomas Bach, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee for this decision, which continues to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the health and safety of athletes and the global community.
"We also reaffirm our commitment to work with the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and offer them our full support, helping to understand all the difficulties that the transfer of the Games will bring." Full statement can be found below.,
On Sunday, Bach said the decision to reschedule the games would be made in the next four weeks. But the pressure grew as national federations, sports authorities and athletes opposed the opening ceremony, scheduled for July 24. Four weeks ended in two days.
On Monday, Bach said he did not discuss new dates for the 2020 Olympics in talks with Abe. One of the options will be July 23-August. 8. This is exactly one year after postponed July 24-August. 9 dates. He added that the exact dates are a question for the Tokyo Organizing Committee and the IOC training control group.
The decision was made only a few hours after local organizers announced that the torch relay would begin as scheduled on Thursday. It was expected to begin in the northeastern Fukushima Prefecture, but without a torch, without torchbearers and without an audience. These plans have also changed.
“For now, the flame will be stored and displayed on Fukushima,” said Yoshiro Mori, the president of the organizing committee.
COC chair has mixed feelings for athletes
One of the reasons IOC needed more time to make a decision was because he wanted to find out the logistics. It will not be an easy task. Many arenas, stadiums and hotels have a contract for the games, which will be held from July 24 to August 7. Revision of these arrangements is feasible, but will be expensive. Tokyo has already spent $ 28 billion to host the Games.
Olympic committees in Canada and Australia said they would not or could not send a team to Tokyo in July. Athletics of the world and the three largest sports in the United States – swimming, athletics and gymnastics – required a delay.
On Monday, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced that they would not send athletes to competitions in Tokyo this summer, and urged the IOC to postpone the holding of games for a year.
At around 24 o’clock, COC chairman Seyi Smith said his feelings for the country's athletes were mixed.
“(This) is good that now they can focus on everyone’s collective responsibility to the pandemic,” he said. “(Bad) that the careful planning of the Games and the post-life planning games was disrupted.
“It’s good for the IOC to move ahead of schedule as soon as possible.”
Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, said that postponing the Olympic and Paralympic Games until 2021 is “the only logical option.”
Athletics, water worlds were slated for 2021
The great hockey Canadian, Haley Wickenheiser, a member of the IOC Sports Commission, spoke harshly to the organization a week ago, saying in a statement posted on Twitter that the current crisis is bigger than any Olympics.
From time to time, the IOC continued to insist that the Games begin on July 24th.
The six-time Olympian was delighted with the announcement of Tuesday.
Very happy to hear @ Tokyo2020 postponed to 2021. The best case scenario, given the circumstances. The message of the athletes deserves to be heard. All athletes: take a breath, regroup, take care of themselves and their family. Your time will come. # tokyo2021
& Mdash;@ wick_22
According to Scott Russell of CBC Sports, putting off the Games for a year is “the only decision” that the IOC can make.
“Obviously, this will require negotiations,” he told CBC News Network. “The World Athletics Championships were scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. The World Aquatics Championship was supposed to be held in Fukuoka, Japan, in the summer of 2021, but it is obvious in all these international sports organizations that they got together and realized that in order to defend the Olympics, they should abandon these championships and allow the world to host a safe Olympics in the summer of 2021. "
WATCH | Scott Russell on the Olympic Future of Canadian Athletes Veterans:
World Athletics said it is discussing with the organizers "alternative dates, including dates in 2022." Championships in Eugene will be held from August 6 to August 15, 2021.
World Athletics added that it is considering a new qualification system to take into account the delay and destruction caused by an outbreak of coronavirus in the 2020 schedule.
FINA World Swimming Authority says it will talk with the Japanese organizers of the 2021 World Cup about a potential clash between the schedule and the Tokyo Olympics. The championship is scheduled for July 16-August. 1 in Fukuoka.
Almost all 33 sports of the Olympic program have key events, including world championships. The famous Hayward Field at the University of Oregon was rebuilt and expanded for $ 200 million so that next year it could be found in the world. Now this event could be postponed, canceled, or see that its status would have significantly decreased if it had been held within a few months after the Olympics were postponed.
“A lot can happen in one year, so we need to think about what we need to do,” said Toshiro Muto, director general of the Tokyo Organizing Committee. “The decision came to us all of a sudden.”
London 2012 🇬🇧 🟢
Rio 2016 🇧🇷 🟢
Tokyo 2021 🇯🇵 🔜
I am grateful, finally, to have some clarity regarding the Olympic Games. A huge decision, but I think the right one for sure.
Time to come back, take care of each other in this difficult period and go again when the time comes! pic.twitter.com/l1NjjUUmMy
Almost all sports around the world stopped the game after a pandemic. The world economy is fluctuating, and people are increasingly being told that one cannot gather in large groups or, in some cases, even leave home. Gyms are closed throughout America. Conducting Olympic trials for several months became almost impossible.
Most people will agree that this decision, Russell noted, but it could also mean the end of the Olympic career for several Canadians, including middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, 31, swimmer Brent Hayden, 36 years old and 39 years old. old Brent Lacatos, the 12-time Paralympic World Champion, won gold at the World Athletics Championships in November.
“They must survive another year and hold on to prepare for the Olympics, so there will be some difficulties and sacrifices,” said Russell. "Yesterday, Brent Lacatos told me that he worked 16 years to prepare for the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020 (but he said that putting it off for a year) is a lot."
Canadian Dick Pound, the oldest member of the IOC, told the News Network that postponement would create some complications, but "it's better than putting athletes in a dangerous situation."
The fate of athletes qualified for the 2020 Games?
In February, Pound received a warning from the Tokyo Organizing Committee and the Japanese government when he announced that an Olympic decision could be made two months after the start of the Games.
“The end of May is a deadline, we never thought about it and never heard of such a comment,” said Mutou in response to Pound. "Our main idea is that we will continue the Olympic and Paralympic Games in accordance with the schedule (July 24)."
Pound, who has been a member of the IOC since 1978 and held two terms as vice president, wondered about those athletes who have already received the right to the Olympics in 2020.
“Those who qualify in 2020 can surpass the rookie in 2021,” he said. “This is another point of negotiation.”