BOSTON (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of sports around the globe and across North America. Unsurprisingly, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are set to become the next major sporting event affected by COVID-19 — though at this point, it’s a postponement and not a cancellation.
International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today that this year’s Olympic Games will be postponed,
On Sunday, the IOC announced that it was considering a postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games until 2021.
The IOC noted that improvements in Japan led to consideration of the Games going on as planned in Tokyo in July. However, the IOC then noted that “there is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the [executive board] to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning.”
The IOC expected a decision within the next four weeks. Yet with the decision coming much more quickly, the coming month will be used to determine exact details.
“The IOC EB emphasized that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda,” the announcement stated.
IOC president Thomas Bach sent a letter to athletes.
“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games,” Bach wrote. “The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I would like to assure you that we will adhere to this in all our decisions concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Prior to the IOC’s announcement, Canada announced that it would not be sending athletes to Tokyo in July if the Games were to take place as scheduled, while Australia advised athletes to prepare for a postponement to 2021.