Countries Are Pulling Out of the Olympics

It's looking increasingly likely the Tokyo games will be delayed a year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2020 12:30 AM CDT
Countries Are Pulling Out of the Olympics
A woman walks past the New National Stadium, a venue for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in Tokyo, Monday, March 23, 2020.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Tokyo Olympics are going to happen—but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned, the AP reports. This became clear after the IOC on Sunday announced it was considering a postponement. Major Olympic nations like Canada and Australia have added pressure by saying they will not go if the games are staged this year. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach sent a letter to athletes explaining the decision and why it might take so long, while also acknowledging the extended timeline might not be popular. “I know that this unprecedented situation leaves many of your questions open,” he wrote. “I also know that this rational approach may not be in line with the emotions many of you have to go through.”

The IOC's move seemed inevitable for a week with pressure mounting from all quarters—athletes, sponsors, broadcasters, more than 200 national Olympic committees, and international sports federations. Japan's politicians fell in line quickly on Monday as they awakened to Bach's move. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at a parliamentary session, said if it is difficult to hold (the Games) in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable.” Abe said he hoped the IOC would make a decision early on a postponement, because the process would involve a lot of work and should start as soon as possible. (More here.)

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