Updated, 3/23/20, 5:15 p.m. ET: Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, announced at a news conference Monday that postponement of the Olympics is now a “realistic option,” according to CNN.
Mori said that the country’s organizing committee is working with the International Olympic Committee to come up with alternatives. “Postponement isn’t our first course of action but we cannot not consider it as a realistic option either.” Mori said.
The news comes after IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that the Games would be postponed. CNN reports that the IOC executive board has given itself a four-week deadline to make a final decision.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to heighten, there definitely have been questions as to whether or not the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were going to take place. Even as the situation escalated over the past couple of weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was steadfast that the games would go on. But it looks like the last week has made the committee, like most us, truly take in the sheer clusterfuckery of the current situation.
According to USA Today, veteran IOC member Dick Pound told the newspaper on Monday that the 2020 Olympic games are going to be postponed, possibly until next year.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in a phone interview. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
There is no word on what timeframe they are looking at or if Tokyo will still be host to the games.
“It will come in stages,” said Pound, the longest-serving IOC member. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
This news comes after both Canada and Australia pulled their teams from the games over the weekend. After we’ve seen the NBA, NHL, MLB and basically every league suspend their seasons due to the ongoing pandemic, it was honestly surprising that the IOC waited so long to make that move.
There is hope that the virus will pass by the summer but that’s all speculation, at this point. Given that the outbreak is just starting to spread in many countries and is impacting certain places worse than others, there’s no real timetable you can drop on a pandemic. Some countries could be good to go by the original July 24 start date, but others could still be in thick of it. Not to mention the widespread border closures would certainly make travel a pain. Given that the Olympics are an international endeavor, the committee’s plan to put the games on this year simply seems naive, considering everything going on right now.
Thankfully, they came to their senses. While World War I and II resulted in the games being canceled, this marks the first time they have ever been postponed, according to USA Today. The IOC will release its plans for the rescheduled games in the upcoming weeks, the official said.