Japan agrees to postpone 2020 summer Olympics

Gateway of Dreams, Atlanta
The Gateway of Dreams in Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta, as seen on Sept. 30, 2014. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – The 2020 summer Olympic Games have been postponed until 2021, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.

Relying on information from the World Health Organization, Abe said he and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said they had no choice.

“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,” Abe and the IOC said in a joint statement.

“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.”

Tuesday’s announcement confirms what International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today Monday.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told 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.”

Pressure had been mounting on the IOC to move the Summer Olympics.

This story first appeared on The Center Square.

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