- 24 Mar 20
In a historic move, the Games were postponed to 2021 following the rapid outbreak of the coronavirus.
In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed that the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games will be postponed to 2021.
Though the organisers had previously insisted that the Games would go on as planned, opposition to the decision quickly mounted as the virus spread. The Canadian team announced that they would not be participating in the 2020 games and the Australians had prepared for a postponement.
The Olympic Federation of Ireland welcomed the official decision and plans to now shift their focus to "protecting and safeguarding the Irish athletes over the coming months and ensuring that they can bounce back to full training and be in peak condition for a successful Games in 2021."
A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 reads:
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, 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. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020."
Venues in Tokyo, built at an estimated cost over €12 billion, will still be utilised in the postponed Games.
The Olympics have never been delayed, however they were outright cancelled during the two world wars.
Below, Irish athletes react to the news.
— Natalya Coyle (@Natalyacoyle) March 24, 2020
A difficult but correct decision in the current crisis. For me personally it will take some time to sink in and to refocus for 2021. But my feet are firmly on the ground...the entire World has bigger problems right now. https://t.co/yS34BPwDKt
— Lydia Boylan (@LyD_ers) March 24, 2020
Not the start to my off season I had in mind but I’m doing what I can to get work in whilst I limit any chances of infection or transmission for me and my loved ones. @TeamIreland @sportireland #COVID19 #slidingirish #trx pic.twitter.com/Gz9qochgiz
— Brendan Doyle (@facedoyle) March 24, 2020
— Leona Maguire (@leona_maguire) March 24, 2020
— Ciara Mageean (@ciaramageean) March 23, 2020