There's now an official date for the 2020 Olympics in Japan, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Olympics officials and Japanese organizers announced Monday that the Tokyo Games will be held next summer from July 23 to Aug. 8, TMZ reports. Officials say this schedule was chosen to help contain the virus and keep athletes, organizers, and spectators safe; to take into account other big sporting events around the world next year; and "to safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport." "Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel," IOC chief Thomas Bach said at the news conference. "These [Games] can be a light at the end of this tunnel." The new dates are just one day (and a year) off from the original schedule for the games, which were to have been held July 24 through Aug. 9.
Officials had originally said the Games would be held at the latest in the summer of 2021. "We wanted to hold them in the summer," Tokyo Games Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori said at a Monday presser, per Kyodo News. The New York Times notes the logistical challenges of determining the new dates, which, in addition to health concerns, had to consider stakeholder interests, athletes' training schedules, and the needs of broadcast and commercial partners. Those who already had tickets to attend the Olympics this year can still use them for the newly rescheduled Games; if they can't go next year, they're eligible to receive a full refund, Olympic officials said Monday. (Read more 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)