KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: It did not need four weeks. In less than a week the 2020 Olympics have been postponed from Tokyo this year to a virtually identical slot in next year’s sporting calendar.

A statement from the International Olympic Committee and Japanese authorities has confirmed that the rescheduled Games will open on July 23, 2021, and close on August 8. The Paralympics will run from August 24 to September 5.

A confirmatory statement was signed off by the IOC, International Paralympic Committee, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Government of Japan.

This followed a telephone conference between IOC president Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 president Mori Yoshirō, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Olympic and Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko.

Tunnel vision

Bach said: “I am confident that we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

The statement explained:

This decision was taken based on three main considerations and in line with the principles established by the IOC executive board on March 17 and confirmed at its meeting today. These were supported by all the International Summer Olympic Sports Federations and all the national Olympic committees:

1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.

2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.

3. The global international sports calendar.

These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020), also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs.

Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.