Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Have the Olympics ever been postponed?

Olympics ever been postponed

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: The Olympic Flag waves as part of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympics in 2021 will mark the first Games in history ever to be delayed to the following year.

The new dates for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 have not been announced but will be no later than that summer. The Opening Ceremony will not be held on July 24 as scheduled, but on an undetermined 2021 date, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The modern Olympics, first held in Athens in 1896, have only ever been canceled for World War I (1916) and World War II (1940 and 1944). Tokyo was due to host the 1940 Olympics.

During the Games, terror attacks at the 1972 Munich Olympics postponed events for one day. The 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park bombing delayed some events to later that day, Olympic historian Bill Mallon said.

Less significant delays for individual events due to weather are common, especially at the Winter Games with Alpine skiing races.

The Summer Games have been held outside of the summer before, most recently the 2000 Sydney Olympics from Sept. 15-Oct. 1, which ended in springtime in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tokyo’s previous Olympics in 1964 were from Oct. 10-24, avoiding the summer heat. The following Olympics in Mexico City in 1968 were also fully in October. The Tokyo Olympics in 2021 will not be held in the autumn, though.

Through 1928, Olympic competition usually began in April or May, months before the Opening Ceremony. The longest-running Games competition was in London in 1908, from April 27-Oct. 31, according to Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Other major sports competitions have been significantly altered by global events. Notably and recently, the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup was moved from China to the U.S. due to the outbreak of SARS at the time.

The 1942 and 1946 men’s World Cups were canceled due to World War II.

The 2001 Ryder Cup in golf was moved to 2002 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics