One of the world’s largest sports gatherings has a new date. According to the Associated Press, Japan’s Tokyo Olympics 2020 will take action in 2021 due to health concerns over COVID-19. The virus’ global outbreak has placed a halt on a number of planned gatherings and grounded various travel plans leading into the spring and summer months.
“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,” a statement from the International Olympic Committee reads.
The games were set to begin July 24-August 7, with the AP noting hotels and other entities previously signed off on contracts for those dates. While the postponement must happen on a date before the summer next year, it’ll still be referred to as the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The news website also published that the country has reportedly spent $28 billion in accommodations and preparations. Although the torch relay was set to begin this week (March 26), the display will live in Fukushima, Japan.
Due to war, the Olympics in 1916, 1940 and 1944 were canceled, but the AP states this is the first time the Olympics were postponed, even due to a virus. Globally, the number of positive cases for COVID-19 reached upwards of 375,000.