Organizing Committee President Says Spring 2021 Not Likely for Tokyo Olympics

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 28, 2020

People take pictures of the Olympic Rings outside the closed Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on March 27, 2020, three days after the historic decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIP FONG/Getty Images

The International Olympics Committee postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to a date no later than summer 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for when the Games will take place, Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said that a spring 2021 Olympics were unlikely.

"I want to offer some conclusions by the end of next week after we've mulled it over," Mori said on Nippon TV (h/t Scott Gleeson of USA Today). 

"The Games are meant to be in summer, so we should be thinking of a time between June and September."

Mori also noted that pushing the Olympics back further provides more time to handle event logistics and gives sporting organizations a longer time frame to hold qualifications.

On Wednesday, IOC President Thomas Bach said (h/t Sean Ingle of the Guardian) that the timing of the rescheduled Games was "not restricted just to the summer months" and that "all the options are on the table including the summer 2021."

However, he also noted that an IOC taskforce entitled "Here We Go" would discuss the Games' new dates with 33 international sports federations beginning Thursday.

"It’s a huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit," Bach said. "If one piece is taken out it can destroy it. The Games have never been postponed before. There is no blueprint."

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One of the biggest pieces is the qualification process for athletes who haven't had the chance to compete for their spots yet. Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), "6,200 or so" athletes have already qualified, but a host of others have not had the chance to do so with their qualification processes postponed due to COVID-19.

The 2020 Summer Olympics mark the first time the Games have been postponed in the event's modern history, which dates back to 1896. The Games have been canceled outright before, during World Wars I and II.  

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