The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will officially take place from July 23, 2021 to August 8.
The Tokyo o Games organizers said 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 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.”
Last week, the IOC and Japanese organizers postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There had been talk of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. However moving this would clash with several other sporting events including the European football competition and many other tournaments including the Lions Tour.
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 organizers 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.
“The IOC has had close discussions with the relevant international federations,” organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said. “I believe the IFs have accepted the games being held in the summer.”
Muto said the decision was made Monday and the IOC said it was supported by all the international sports federations and was based on three main considerations: to protect the health of athletes, to safeguard the interests of the athletes and Olympic sport, and the 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 IOC said. “The new dates … 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.”
Paralympics Ireland welcomed the announcement of the new date for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The announcement was made today following a board meeting of the International Paralympic Committee in Bonn, Germany.
Speaking about the rescheduled event Paralympic Ireland CEO, Miriam Malone said ‘Paralympics Ireland welcomes the announcement of a new date of August 24th for the 2020 Paralympic Games. This gives more certainty to our athletes, their support teams and our own high performance team who can now plan their preparations for the competition. Our focus is now to ensure that any Irish athletes that compete at the Tokyo Games will be at their physical peak for the games.
‘Paralympics Ireland will continue to monitor the development of the COVID 19 health crisis over the coming months to ensure the safety of all Irish athletes. We will follow the expert advice of our Chief Medical Officer, Sport Ireland, the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation when deciding what events, training camps and competitions up to and including the Paralympic Games that Irish athletes will take part in.’
Speaking today, Chef de Mission for Team Ireland in Tokyo, Tricia Heberle welcomed the clarification of a date,
“Now the athletes have a start date for the Games, they can work with their Performance Directors and coaches to start mapping out preparations. Importantly for athletes and sport, the next information we need clarity on are any changes to qualification and the rescheduling of qualification events. This will take some time, so in the short term the focus remains the same, stay healthy and safe over the coming months.
“The priority now is for everyone to following the government guidelines to protect Ireland and the rest of the world against further spread of this virus. A July 2021 start means that we have plenty of time to reactivate preparatory plans and for athletes currently in modified training or on a break of sorts, this period of time can still allow some positive impact on performance.
“If we are smart, this enforced break can make Team Ireland even better.”