IOC announces postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games
- 24 March 2020, 18:18
The decision has been announced today to postpone the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021, as a result of the current global Covid-19 pandemic.
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, have said that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo will be rescheduled to a date ‘beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021’, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy said:
“The world is currently dealing with a global pandemic and the health and safety of society, athletes, support personnel, organisers, volunteers and spectators is of course the number one priority. While equestrian Olympic qualification has already been completed, many other Olympic sports have had their qualification competitions disrupted. In addition, our planned Olympic preparation schedule for our equestrian teams has also come to a complete standstill.
“The decision to postpone this Summer’s Olympic Games was inevitable and we will continue to work with our high-performance directors, athletes, coaches, and owners to find solutions and to minimize the impact of the rescheduling for everyone involved. The logistics involved in an Olympic Games surpass all other sporting events and this is of course even more complex in equestrian sports which involve horses.
“It is vitally important that we support our Olympic and Paralympic Athletes and focus on the positives. For the first time in our history Ireland has three equestrian teams qualified for the Olympic Games and we will continue to work with the OFI and the FEI to ensure our preparations for the rescheduled Olympic Games are optimal.”
The Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO, Peter Sherrard welcomed the call, acknowledging the complexities involved in postponing the Games saying,
“This is the right call given the times that we are in. Nonetheless we recognize it was a difficult call for Japan to make, and we are looking forward to working with the IOC and countries all over the world to make Tokyo 2021 a poignant moment for the whole world once these difficult times are over.”
Tokyo Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle added,
“This decision, while totally appropriate, will impact on sport and our athletes in different ways, there will be mixed emotions. Our focus is to continue to engage with and support our sports as we gather as much information to determine how this will impact on both athletes who have already qualified and those who are on the path to qualification.”
The Tokyo 2020-IOC statement continued: “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.
“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”