The Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Set to take place from July 24 to August 9, they will be held by next summer, the International Olympics Committee said Tuesday morning.
The Olympics have never been rescheduled in peacetime. It’s the last and biggest event to bite the dust as public gatherings disappear across the globe.
It wasn’t a surprise as pressures mounted amidst the global spread of the virus. Several countries, Australia and Canada, had announced they would not be participating and others like the U.S. and Germany along with various sports associations had called for the games to be postponed.
“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,” said a statement by the IOC.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the statement said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed the delay to reporters after the call with Bach.
“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,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.”
Japan is said to have invested over $10 billion in preparing for the event.
The decision will have a big impact on Comcast, which has the rights to the Games through 2023. As the chatter increased yesterday, an NBC Sports spokesperson said, “These are extraordinary and unprecedented times, and we fully support the IOC’s decision to step up its scenario-planning for the Tokyo Olympics. We are prepared to stand behind any decision made by the IOC, the Japanese government, and the world health officials with whom they are working regarding the Tokyo Olympics.”
At a media conference in early March, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the in the event of a cancellation the conglomerate has insurance and contractual protections.