Olympics

Tokyo Olympics officially postponed to 2021

Tokyo Olympics officially postponed to 2021

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are officially postponed for a year amid concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by the International Olympic Committee and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe.
 
The IOC and the Prime Minister said in the statement that the Tokyo games must be postponed to "safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community".
 
The statement said the Tokyo games will be rescheduled "no later than summer 2021", and the event will retain the Tokyo 2020 name.

This is the first time in history that the start of an Olympics will be delayed to another year.

The IOC and Abe further explained the decision in the joint statement:

The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is 'accelerating'. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

Olympic leaders decided the Olympic flame will remain in Japan, with the idea of the Games standing "as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times".
 
The Games were scheduled to begin July 24 with the Opening Ceremony, and last until August 9 with the Closing Ceremony.

Carli Lloyd discusses her life on pause now that 2020 Olympics have been postponed

Carli Lloyd discusses her life on pause now that 2020 Olympics have been postponed

The news was officially released early Tuesday morning that the 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Now, athletes who were planning to participate have had their lives put on pause, just like the majority of the world — awaiting the next steps to take during this time. 

South Jersey native and USWNT forward Carli Lloyd is just one of many whose training has been halted due to the news. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark was able to catch up with Lloyd following the announcement. 

“Life is on pause with literally everything around the world,” said Lloyd. “I think the olympics was sort of the elephant in the room for the last several weeks.”

It will ultimately become quite an adjustment — to see how pushing this event back will affect the Olympians that were planning to head to Tokyo, Japan in the summer. 

“I think all of the athletes around the world have been wondering what’s going to happen,” said Lloyd. “All of their training has been halted some way shape or form and it’s unfortunate. 

“I think a worst case scenario, they would have just cancelled it altogether. So, I’m happy for the postponement. I know it probably is going to affect so many different athletes in so many different ways, but I’m looking forward to it.”

This is the first time in a while where Lloyd’s life has been put on pause. While she will still be training to some degree with her home gym and backyard space, she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband. 

Lloyd further discusses the impact of the postponement of the Olympics and what her plans could possibly include for the summer in the video above. And of course, she makes sure to state her excitement for this upcoming Eagles season. 

IOC's Dick Pound discusses coronavirus threat to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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AP Images

IOC's Dick Pound discusses coronavirus threat to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — A senior member of the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak, organizers are more likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.

Dick Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion who has been on the IOC since 1978, making him its longest-serving member, estimated there is a three-month window — perhaps a two-month one — to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, meaning a decision could be put off until late May.

"In and around that time, I'd say folks are going to have to ask: 'Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?'" he said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

As the games draw near, he said, "a lot of things have to start happening. You've got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there building their studios."

If the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo, "you're probably looking at a cancellation," he said.

The viral outbreak that began in China two months ago has infected more than 80,000 people globally and killed over 2,700, the vast majority of them in China. But the virus has gained a foothold in South Korea, the Middle East and Europe, raising fears of a pandemic. Japan itself has reported four deaths.

Pound encouraged athletes to keep training. About 11,000 are expected for the Olympics, which open July 24, and 4,400 are bound for the Paralympics, which open Aug. 25.

"As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo," Pound said. "All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation."

The modern Olympics, which date to 1896, have been canceled only during wartime. The Olympics in 1940 were supposed to be in Tokyo but were called off because of Japan’s war with China and World War II. The Rio Games in Brazil went on as scheduled in 2016 despite the outbreak of the Zika virus.

Pound repeated the IOC’s stance — that it is relying on consultations with the World Health Organization, a United Nations body, to make any move.

As for the possibility of postponement, he said: "You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There's so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say, 'We'll do it in October.'"

Pound said moving to another city also seems unlikely "because there are few places in the world that could think of gearing up facilities in that short time to put something on."

London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has suggested the British capital as an alternative. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike suggested the offer was an attempt to use the virus for political purposes.

Pound said he would not favor a scattering of Olympic events to other places around the world because that wouldn't "constitute an Olympic Games. You'd end up with a series of world championships." He also said it would be extremely difficult to spread around the various sports over a 17-day period with only a few months' notice.

Holding the Olympics in Tokyo but postponing them by a few months would be unlikely to satisfy North American broadcasters, whose schedules are full in the fall with American pro football, college football, European soccer, basketball, baseball and ice hockey. Other world broadcasters also have jammed schedules.

"It would be tough to get the kind of blanket coverage that people expect around the Olympic Games," Pound said.

He also cast doubt on the possibility of a one-year delay. Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, although a national audit board says the country is spending twice that much.

"You have to ask if you can hold the bubble together for an extra year," Pound said. "Then, of course, you have to fit all of this into the entire international sports schedule."

Pound said the IOC has been building up an emergency fund, reported to be about $1 billion, for unforeseen circumstances to help the IOC and the international sports federations that depend on income from the IOC. About 73% of the IOC’s $5.7 billion income in a four-year Olympic cycle comes from broadcast rights.

"It's not an insurable risk, and it's not one that can be attributed to one or the other of the parties," he said. "So everybody takes their lumps. There would be a lack of revenue on the Olympic movement side."

Pound said the future of the Tokyo Games is largely out of the IOC's hands and depends on the course the virus takes.

"If it gets to be something like the Spanish flu," Pound said, referring to the deadly pandemic early in the 20th century that killed millions, "at that level of lethality, then everybody’s got to take their medicine."