After considerable internal discussion among the International Olympic Committee and host nation Japan, the Summer Olympics will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “I proposed to postpone for about a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100 percent agreement.”
A one-year delay will also be implemented for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Japan has committed to hosting the Summer Games in about one year’s time, but no exact dates are available yet.
The Japanese Prime Minister added, “This will make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and will make the event a safe and secure one for spectators.”
To safeguard the health of the athletes and everyone involved in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will now take place no later than summer 2021.
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 24, 2020
This decision came after weeks of deliberation, and then official withdrawal of Canada and Australia from the 2020 Summer Olympics Games.
Late on Monday, the U.S. Olympic Committee urged the I.O.C. to postpone the Games, but the U.S.O.C. had not officially withdrawn from competition.
Earlier in March, the World Health Organization met with medical advisors from international sporting federations that oversee Olympic events to discuss options which included the possibility of holding the Games without spectators. Ultimately, the decision was made to delay the Games to help ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic can be brought under control.
The Olympics have not been canceled, nor postponed, since World War II. Tokyo was supposed to host the Summer Games in 1940 but had to bow out after it went to war with China. The Games were then awarded to Helsinki, Finland, but were canceled after the outbreak of WWII. Helsinki ultimately hosted the 1952 Summer Games, and Tokyo in 1964.
Paris is set to host the Summer Olympics in 2024, and Los Angeles in 2028.
This article originally appeared at Velonews.com.