May 23, 2020

It was announced on Monday that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for next year in the same time slot that they were scheduled for this summer. The Opening Ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021, and the Closing Ceremony will be on August 8, 2021. The Paralympics were rescheduled for August 24–September 5, 2021.

There was talk prior to the announcement of the Games being rescheduled for the spring of 2021, but it was ultimately pushed back to the summer because of conflicting dates with European soccer and North American sports leagues.

The new dates for the Tokyo Olympics will allow time for the postponed qualifying events. The qualifying events were postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Tokyo Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori said, “We wanted to have more room for the athletes to qualify.”

There were three main considerations before the Olympics were officially postponed: to protect the health of the athletes, to protect the interests of the athletes and Olympic sport, and the international sports calendar.

Local organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to postpone the games because of pressure from athletes, national Olympic bodies, and sports federations. The IOC has had close discussions with relevant international federations when making this decision and said that all of the international sports federations supported the decision.

However, the new Olympic dates conflict with the 2021 track and swimming world championships. The dates for those events are now expected to be pushed back to make room for the Olympics.

“These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organization of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IOC stated. “The new dates…also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs.”

The rescheduling of the Olympic Games has taken a lot of planning and coordination, and the cost of doing so will be “massive”. Reports estimate that moving the dates of the games will ultimately cost around $4 billion. The money will cover the cost of maintaining stadiums, refitting them, paying for rentals, penalties, and other expenses. Most of the cost will be provided by Japanese taxpayers.

Sources: espn.com

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