Photo: Behrouz Mehri Agence France-Presse
The chairman of the organising committee of the olympic Games of Tokyo, Yoshiro Mori
The Tokyo olympic Games 2020, postponed because of the pandemic of sars coronavirus, will open on Friday 23 July 2021, almost a year to the day after the initially scheduled date, announced Monday the organizers.
“The olympic Games will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021. The Paralympics will take place from 24 August to 5 September, ” said the president of the organizing committee of japan Yoshiro Mori during a press conference in Tokyo announced in the last minute.
A few hours ago, Mr. Mori had stated that he expected the international olympic Committee (IOC) announces the new dates of the Games in the course of this week. However, the date of July 23, 2021 had already been leaked to the japanese media.
This announcement comes less than a week after the decision of the postponement history of the Games, which were originally scheduled to open on July 24, 2020 -, the following concerns and growing pressure on the part of athletes and sports federations in the face of the global health crisis.
“The Situation is constantly changing “
The organizers had expressed their willingness to organise the Games by the summer of 2021 at the latest, but had not yet set the dates.
Some media had speculated that the organizers could take advantage of the postponement to ensure that the competition is rather in the spring, much better than the summer, very hot and humid in Tokyo.
The high summer temperatures in the japanese capital had pushed the last year the IOC to relocate one of the event’s flagship, marathon, Sapporo, in the extreme north of Japan, in order to limit the risks to the participants.
The deferral of the olympic and paralympic Games in Tokyo due to the pandemic is without precedent in the history of the modern olympic games in time of peace, and represents a logistical challenge huge for the organisers.
Earlier in the day Monday, Mr. Mori had insisted on the need to quickly resolve the issue of the new dates of the games so as to then be able to move forward on all the rest.
“We agreed on the organization of the event in the summer as originally planned, because of the coronavirus […] and the time needed for the preparations, the selection and qualification of athletes,” he said.
For its part, the IOC has estimated that these new dates would give the health authorities and to the organizers ” the maximum time to deal with a situation constantly changing, and the disruption caused by the pandemic COVID-19 “.
The world athletics championships pushed back
This choice will cause a “minimum” of turmoil in the international sports calendar, has also said the IOC in a press release.
The report is weighing on the shoulders of the organizers with the task of “unprecedented” arrange an event prepared for seven years, and the boss of the Tokyo 2020, according to Toshiro Muto has admitted that the additional costs would be ” massive “.
Example of a puzzle in view : the olympic village is supposed to be transformed into housing units, of which several hundred have already been sold.
The Games, which should be those of the reconstruction of the north-east of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami of 11 march 2011, followed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, will now appear as the victory promised of humanity on the coronavirus.
“Humanity is now in a black tunnel,” said the IOC president Thomas Bach in its press release announcing the new dates. “These olympic games will be the light at the end of the tunnel “.
Mr. Mori spoke of the “unprecedented challenge” that awaits the organisers.
“But I think that it is the mission of the organization committee of the Tokyo 2020 organising the olympic and paralympic Games next year as proof of the victory of humanity against the virus, he said.
As if to illustrate immediately the complicated puzzle that announcement, the international athletics Federation (World athletics), said shortly after the announcement of Japan and the IOC, with the world Championships scheduled to Eugene (United States), in August 2021 will take place in 2022.