The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic have officially been rescheduled.
Tokyo organizers announced Monday morning that the opening ceremony would take place on July 23, 2021, one year after the games were due to start this summer.
The Olympics will run until August 8 and the Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5.
“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 new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 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,” said the Tokyo organizers in a press release.
Following the postponement of the games last week, it was reported that there were talks of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan’s famous cherry blossoms, but that would cause too much of a clash with European soccer and North American sports league schedules.
It was also confirmed by the International Organizing Committee (IOC) that “all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged.”
The IOC has also agreed to continue referring to the games as ‘Tokyo 2020,’ despite being held in 2021.
“With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, 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,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.
The city’s governor was encouraged by finding new dates so quickly.
“The athletes, volunteers, torchbearers and local municipality governments have been concerned about the situation. Since we now have concrete new dates to aim for, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will commit all its resources, and work closely with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the national government and other stakeholders to fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure,” said Tokyo governor Koike Yuriko.
With the new dates for 2021 nearly identical to the original schedule, it will allow time for qualifiers like the FIBA basketball tournament in Victoria to reschedule prior to the event as well.