Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound has stated that the IOC will be postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, likely to now be held in 2021.
The possible postponement comes after increasing scrutiny of the IOC and the Japanese Government's continued insistence that the Tokyo Olympics would be held July 24 start despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The IOC followed this stance by announcing on Sunday that they would start four weeks of talks about a possible postponement.
Due to the uncertainty, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees stated yesterday that they would not be sending a delegation to the 2020 Games should the date not be changed. Both committees urged the IOC to delay until 2021 to provide a fair and safe Games.
This was swiftly followed by an announcement by the Australian Olympic Committee stating it would not be able to assemble a team for the games and informing its athletes to prepare for a 2021 Olympics.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee president Mike Stanley also stated that the country was itself considering to boycott the games should the IOC not postpone them. These official announcements followed several days of calls from other sporting bodies around the world to make a quick and proper Olympic postponement decision.
Should Mr. Pound's statements be followed by an official announcement of a postponement by the IOC, this would be an unprecedented event. The Olympics has never been postponed in the past.
They have been cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 Games due to the first and second world wars. The 1976, 1980 and 1984 Games saw boycotts from several nations for political reasons.
A possible postponement would put a significant logistical and financial strain on the Japanese Organizers, who have spent years preparing and almost 12$ billion on the event. It would also complicate current agreements with sponsors and broadcasters.
However, as stated by the Australian Olympic Committee in their plan for postponement media release: "The IOC had adopted the key principles of putting health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport. This decision (the AOC postponement) reflects those principles."
Mr. Pound's statement means that the IOC should follow their principles with a postponement confirmation.