The Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place almost exactly one year later than originally planned, the IOC and Tokyo organisers announce, as Bach confirms qualified athletes retain their spots.By Andrew Binner30 March 2020 15:04
The new countdown to Tokyo 2020 has begun, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and local Organising Committee officially confirming that the Olympics will now take place from Friday 23rd July to Sunday 8th August 2021.
“I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days,” IOC President Thomas Bach said at the official announcement.
“I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge.”
“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.” – IOC President Bach
Paralympics to start on 24th August 2021
New dates for the Paralympic Games were also confirmed by President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee Mori Yoshirō.
They will now take place from Tuesday 24th August until Sunday 5th September 2021.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said, in a statement: “The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world.”
“When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport.”
Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President: Prompt decision speeds future preparations
“I proposed that the Games should be hosted between July and August 2021, and I really appreciate that President Bach, having discussed this proposal with the various international sports federations and other related organisations, kindly accepted my proposal,” said local Organising Committee President Mori Yoshirō, in announcing the new dates.
“A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable.” – Tokyo 2020 President Mori
“In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.” the former Japanese Prime Minister revealed.
“Notwithstanding the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in history, and various other issues that have already been highlighted, the event schedule is the cornerstone of future preparations, and I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations.
“I would like to thank all the stakeholders, including the host city Tokyo and the Government of Japan, for their hard work during this short period. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year’s Games.” Mori added.
Qualification and Test Events
Last week, President Bach revealed the IOC Coordination Commission and Tokyo 2020 organisers had formed a task force named “Here We Go”, whose job is to solve any issues presented by the postponement, including those related to sponsorship, accommodation, and qualification.
It has also been confirmed that athletes who have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will keep those slots.
“It is clear that those athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 remain qualified. This is a consequence of the fact that these Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, in agreement with Japan, will remain the Games of the XXXII Olympiad,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.