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Dick Pound, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, has told USA Today that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will be postponed, probably to 2021.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said, according to 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.”
As mass postponement and cancellations have swept across the world of sport amid coronavirus concerns in recent weeks, Olympic organizers have maintained that they are sticking to the plan of starting the Olympics on time (July 24) until further notice. Over the past several days, however, pressure has mounted as Olympic athletes, national organizations, and voices across the media have called for plans to change.
IOC President Thomas Bach said on Sunday that a decision on whether or not to proceed as planned would be made over the next four weeks. Shortly thereafter, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced that they would not send teams to the Games if they are held this summer. Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Committee has told Australian athletes to prepare for a 2021 Olympics.
According to Pound, the process of postponing and rescheduling such a massive event will take time.
“It will come in stages,” he said, according to USA Today. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
The Olympics have not seen an interruption in planned dates since the 1940s when the 1940 and 1944 Games were cancelled amid the Second World War.