The 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been officially postponed by about one year, according to a statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Tuesday.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach issued a statement Tuesday announcing the Games would be delayed until Summer 2021.
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," said a statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
The IOC has been facing pressure from countries and athletes around the world as officials impose strict lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease. Both Australia and Canada previously announced this week that due to ongoing pandemic, they were withdrawing their athletes from the Games. Other countries, including the United States, Poland and Germany, have called for the Games to be postponed to 2021.
"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present," the statement added.
"Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan."
The Games have been canceled before, but never in peacetime. During World War I and World War II, the Olympics were canceled due to the war.
The IOC also stated that the Games would retain the name Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, despite the postponement.
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