On Sunday, March 22, Canada officially pulled out of the Olympics. Soon other nations such as Australia and Brazil followed suit, pulling out of the Olympics and urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make a decision on the postponement of the 2020 Games.
Monday, March 23, longtime IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today Sports that the event would be postponed. The IOC refused to confirm the postponement.
Finally, on Tuesday, March 24, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he and the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, had come to an agreement during a phone call. The Olympics will be postponed and held ‘at the very latest’ summer 2021.
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. pic.twitter.com/ihe8To2g3R
— PM's Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO) March 24, 2020
“Considering the current situation, in regards to the Tokyo Games,” said Abe, “as the host nation, in order to ensure that athletes from all over the world are able to compete in their best condition, and also in order to ensure the utmost safety for the spectators, I have asked him to consider postponing the games by about a year.”
The IOC and Japanese government agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan, as a “beacon of hope”. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The Olympics was set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9, and the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6. This will be the first time the IOC has rescheduled an Olympics due to health threats.