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Tokyo Olympics officially postponed until 2021

UPDATED: Tue., March 24, 2020

The Olympic Rings are displayed at the entrance of the IOC, International Olympic Committee headquarters during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott / AP)
The Olympic Rings are displayed at the entrance of the IOC, International Olympic Committee headquarters during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott / AP)
By Stephen Wade and Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press

TOKYO – The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed until 2021.

The International Olympic Committee along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers have decided that the Tokyo Games cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The IOC says the games will be held “not later than summer 2021” but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

IOC president Thomas Bach says “alarming figures” in the past few days about the coronavirus were key to deciding the Tokyo Olympics must be postponed.

Bach cites the World Health Organization “saying in the last couple of hours that Africa has to prepare for the worst.”

The IOC has been advised by the WHO, which said Monday the pandemic is accelerating.

Bach says the original health issue for hosting the Tokyo Olympics was “could Japan offer a safe welcome“ and the IOC was confident it could.

Bach says he did not discuss new dates for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in talks with Abe.

One option would be July 23-Aug. 8. That is exactly one year from the now-postponed July 24-Aug. 9 dates.

Bach says the exact dates is a question for the Tokyo organizing committee and an International Olympic Committee panel overseeing the preparations.

Swimming and track have their biennial world championships scheduled to start in July or August 2021.

Story developing

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