Mon | May 25, 2020

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8 in 2021

Published:Monday | March 30, 2020 | 12:00 AM
IOC President Thomas Bach

TOKYO (AP):

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's Games.

Tokyo organisers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.

"The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games," Tokyo organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said. "This will only accelerate our progress."
Last week, the IOC and Japanese organiser's postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's Games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

There had been talk of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan's famous cherry blossoms. But it would also clash with European football and North American sports leagues.

Mori said a spring Olympics was considered but holding the Games later gives more space to complete the many qualifying events that have been postponed by the virus outbreak.

"We wanted to have more room for the athletes to qualify," Mori said.

After holding out for weeks, local organisers and the IOC last week postponed the Tokyo Games under pressure from athletes, national Olympic bodies and sports federations. It's the first postponement in Olympic history, though there were several cancellations during wartime.

The Paralympics were rescheduled to Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

The new Olympic dates would conflict with the scheduled world championships in track and swimming, but those events are now expected to also be pushed back.