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2020 Olympic Games Postponed to 2021

2020 Olympics Postponed Until 2021

Tuesday March 24th 2020

 olympic rings photo matt roberts getty images
Tokyo Olympic Stadium - Photo: Matt Roberts / Getty Images


Update 4pm Tuesday March 22nd

World Athletics (IAAF) statement on postponement of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

World Athletics welcomes the decision of the IOC and the Japanese Government to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021. It is what athletes want and we believe this decision will give all athletes, technical officials and volunteers some respite and certainty in these unprecedented and uncertain times.

Athletics will continue to do whatever it can to preserve and create an outdoor season of one-day meetings in 2020, starting and ending later than usual, so athletes, when they are able and it is safe to, will have access to competitions in every region. This will help them benchmark their performances and adjust their training accordingly for an Olympic Games in 2021. In light of this announcement, we will also expedite our current review of the Olympic qualification system, in cooperation with the IOC, and release any changes to the process as soon as possible so athletes know where they stand.

World Athletics stands ready to work with the IOC and all sport on an alternative date for the Olympic Games in 2021 and has already been in discussion with the Organising Committee of the World Athletics Championships Oregon 21 regarding the possibility of moving the dates of this highly popular worldwide event. They have assured us that they will work with all of their partners and stakeholders to ensure that Oregon is able to host the World Athletics Championships on alternative dates, including dates in 2022.



This morning, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that his request for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed for a year has been agreed.

The 2020 Olympics may have been postponed to 2021, but next year's games will still be called the "Olympic Games 2020"

Mr Abe spoke, by phone, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach, yesterday,  and they agreed that postponement was unavoidable, due to measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

The IOC has said that it will make a formal decision on the future of the games in the next four weeks. However the formal decision is looking simply like a 'rubber stamp', with many countries following Canada's announcement, followed by Australia, yesterday, that it was withdrawing from the games at the present time.  World Athletics, the Olympic committees of Brazil, Slovenia and Germany, USA Swimming, USA Track and Field all joined the growing chorus of calls for postponement.

Mr Abe said Mr Bach had agreed "100% to postponing the games for a year.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who was also involved in the talks, said the games would not be cancelled, just postponed, and they would still be called "Tokyo 2020", even if, as appears likely, they are run in 2021.

Dick Pound said that the IOC had not rushed to an announcement, so that it a clear alternative plan could be presented to the Japanese hosts, sports federations and sponsors. “Probably what turned the tide in the last couple of days is the curve on the Covid-19 virus. It is getting very, very steep now and this is clearly not something that is going to be under control by June or July and probably not by the end of the year”

The postponement is a major blow to Japan, which has spent more than €12bn on the event, while massive sums are also at stake for sponsors and broadcasters. Goldman Sachs estimated this month that Japan would lose €4.5bn (550bn yen) in inbound and domestic consumption in 2020 if the Olympics did not take place as planned.

Lawrence Waterman, London 2012 Health and Safety Director, had urged the IOC to postpone the Games, saying they could not be held safely this year. “These Games need to be postponed, and the sooner the IOC and the Japanese government face up to this the better. It’s simply not safe to put the games on during a global pandemic”.

“People’s safety and health should come before the costs of delaying contracts. The London Games were the first in history to be completed without a single fatality, we set the standard on health and safety at the Olympics."

Irish View - Brendan Boyce

Brendan Boyce's World Athletics (IAAF) Profile

brendan boyce

Yesterday, Brendan Boyce, voiced his concern on his Facebook page:

"I would do almost anything to wear the green of Ireland.

In 2011 - 8 weeks before the European Cup I got a hairline fracture in my patella. I could only train once every 3rd day because of the pain but I was willing to do it for the glory of putting on that green vest for the first time. I put myself through hell to finish 27th.

In 2018 - I got a stress fracture in my tibia 10 weeks before the European championships in Berlin. I cross trained and taught myself to swim (badly) in order to maintain a heavy workload of aerobic training. Against all medical advise I wanted to wear the green vest. I put myself through hell again to finish 19th in 50km at a European championships.

In 2020 it's not about me or my health or my ambitions. It's about supporting everyone around me and the health of the global population.

I am more than happy to punish myself put myself through hell to wear the green of Ireland on the biggest stage but I will not be part of the problem, a vector for disease that will harm or kill others. We cannot in good conscience risk the health of globe for pride or stubbornness or money.

Please let the IOC come to it's senses. Postpone now. The world demands it."

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Cork Athletics County Board is a constituent member of Athletics Ireland. Cork Athletics is the governing body, administering athletics, track and field (T&F), cross-country (XC) and running in county Cork. The Board comprises elected representatives of constituent athletic clubs and running clubs. Cork County Board AAI organises Championship races and competition, including road, track & field (T&F) and Cross-country (XC), at junior, juvenile, senior and masters levels, and selects representation for the county. In addition, training and education is provided for coaches and officials. The Board also regulates the Athletics Ireland race/event permit (licence) process for county Cork.
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