Summer Olympics 2020 Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Meredith Jacobs
Summer Olympics 2020 Postponed Coronavirus
Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Add the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to the list of events affected by the current coronavirus pandemic.

Initially set for July 24-August 9, the Games have officially been postponed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced Tuesday. On a conference call, IOC President Thomas Bach and Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo discussed how the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people's lives, including the global athletes' preparations for the Olympics.

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The Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be "rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021," they said in a joint statement, "to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community."

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present," the statement continues. "Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan."

While the date of the Games is changing, the name (Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020) will not.

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This news comes the day after Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said the pandemic is "accelerating," with more than 375,000 cases worldwide and in nearly every country.

The Summer Games in Tokyo join other events around the world in being postponed due to the pandemic. TV and movie productions have shut down as a result.