The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to longtime International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in a phone interview with USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
As for when the IOC will announce its next steps, Pound said “it will come in stages. We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
Pound said that the Games are likely to be moved to 2021. When USA Today reached out to the IOC for comment, spokesperson Mike Adams responded via text: “Well, as we announced yesterday, we are looking at scenarios.”
IOC president Thomas Bach announced on Sunday that the IOC would take the next month to decide how to proceed with the 2020 Olympics in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down all sports for the foreseeable future. He did not commit to any path of action, but did for the first time acknowledge that postponement was a possibility. That admission came after several governing bodies called on Bach to postpone the Olympics, and after Canada said they would not send any athletes to the 2020 Olympics if they happened this year.
Postponing the Olympics is exceedingly complex. The entire event requires harmony among an interconnected web of athletes, governing bodies, city and national governments, local venues, businesses, and more. It’s not as simple as moving everything forward a year — especially if a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be developed and widely administered.