Tokyo Olympics set to begin on July 23 after postponing due to virus

Tokyo Olympics confirm next year’s dates for the delayed Games, with the opening ceremony to begin on July 23 before wrapping up on August 8 (but it’s still called the 2021 Olympics!)

  • The Olympics slated for 2021 has new dates after it was pushed back from 2020 
  • Japan were forced to postpone the games due to the coronavirus outbreak 
  • Now the opening ceremony will start of July 23 before finishing on August 8 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have confirmed their key dates for the tournament after it was pushed back to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan were forced to delay the highly-anticipated tournament with the killer virus sweeping its way around the world – a decision that could end up costing them another £2bn after spending £10bn already. 

Now the opening ceremony of the games will now take place on July 23 2021, with the closing ceremony on August 8.

The Olympic games in Tokyo will now start on July 23 next year and will finish off on August 8

Meanwhile, the Paralympics will now go ahead from August 24 until September 5 next year.

A statement from the IOC stated that the new timeframe would allow those organising the games ‘maximum time’ to deal with the new challenges that have come to light due to the virus.

‘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,’ it said.

‘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.’

IOC president Thomas Bach thanked those involved in the staging of the games for their support during the ongoing situation. He said ‘humankind finds itself in a dark tunnel’, but was confident that the tournament would provide ‘a light at the end of this tunnel’.

IOC president Thomas Bach said he was confident the 2021 games would be a light at the end of a dark tunnel for humanity

‘I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days. I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. 

‘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.’ 

The original start to the games was due to happen on July 24 this year, with the grand finale set for August 9.

But despite weeks of denial that the competition would succumb to the virus, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe finally confirmed that the game would not go ahead last week.

A joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo organisers said the decision was aimed at ‘safeguarding the health of the athletes’.

It read: ‘In the present circumstances, and based on the information provided by the World Health Organisation today, the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games 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 Games and the international community.’

Abe said he had made the judgment call after holding talks with Bach. 

He said: ‘We asked President Bach to consider postponement of about one year to make it possible for athletes to be in the best condition, and to make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.’ 

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