Less than a week after postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Monday that an agreement has been reached to host the Games exactly one year after its original window—July 23 to August 8, 2021.
By keeping the same timeline, it provides everyone involved the best opportunity to prepare for the event under the evolving conditions the COVID-19 pandemic has created. Athletes will not be pressured to choose between health and career, conflicts with other sporting events can be addressed and qualifying processes won’t be altered.
This outcome supports the three main considerations the IOC Executive Board laid out: To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus; to safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport; and the global international sports calendar.
“I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
“I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
With the current landscape and expectation that Wimbledon will be the next major tournament to announce its cancellation, restructuring calendars will be a significant area for the ATP and WTA tours to address, regardless of whether another tennis ball is hit in 2020. The ATP’s current 2021 calendar has seven events that could clash against the Games, should tennis maintain its positioning on the Olympic program schedule.
Four years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Andy Murray became the first singles player to successful retain the title, while Puerto Rico's Monica Puig clinched her country's first Olympic gold medal.