İrem UZUN -TDO- The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound said on Monday, as a window slowly began to open that would allow the showcase to be staged next year. Major sporting nations Australia and Canada had already withdrawn on Monday as organizers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in its 124-year modern history.

After the talks with the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, Abe said they had established that cancelling the Games was out of the question, and that Bach had agreed “100%” that a postponement was the most appropriate response to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” Abe told reporters shortly after his conference call with Bach, adding that the Games would be held by the summer of 2021. 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 Olympic Games and the international community”, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said later in a joint statement.

The Summer Olympics have been canceled three times before - in 1916, 1940, and 1944 - and the Winter Games have been canceled twice, in 1940 and 1944, during the world wars. The 1920 Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium, from April to September at the tail end of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, despite the outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

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