After much deliberation and numerous declarations by the Japanese government that they would go forth as planned, The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to reports by The Japan Times, the decision to postpone the games came after major participants Australia and Canada withdrew their athletes from the event and organisers came under increasing global pressure.
Canada’s Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee declared in a statement that “We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport”.
This marks the first time in its 124-year modern history that the games will be postponed (although cancellations have happened during times of war).
IOC member Dick Pound told USA today that while the games will not begin on 24 July as originally planned, “The parameters going forward have not been determined”.
According to Pound, it seems likely that the games will be postponed by one year, and commence in the summer of 2021, but all stakeholders, such as organisers, athletes and broadcasters will need to be consulted before this can be finalised.
For weeks the Japanese government has been insisting that the games would not be postponed, as even that will be a massive blow to the nation, which according to The Japan Times has already invested $12 Billion in the event.
This is just one of many events, albeit a big one, that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted, and its consequences will be hard-hitting and far-reaching. However, unusual solutions are necessary to curb the spread of the virus globally, and to protect the athletes of all the participating nations.