Olympics cancelled as coronavirus crisis sweeps globe

The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until summer 2021 at the latest due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced today

Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 2:58 pm

A joint statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee confirmed the news.

The Games will not now take place in 2020, but will happen no later than the summer of 2021.

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Olympic gold medalist dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, from Sheffield

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“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organisation today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo 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 statement read.

“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.”

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees had already announced they would not compete in Tokyo this summer, while the Australians had told their athletes to prepare for a postponement.

Team USA said 93 per cent of its athletes wanted the Games postponed rather than cancelled, while 68 per cent said the event could not be fairly competed if continued as scheduled.

The Germany Olympic Committee said a postponement decision was ‘long overdue’.

Moving the Games will carry some cost, but it is not anticipated there will be a major clamour from sponsorship and broadcast partners.

Games venues - already built at an estimated cost of over £12 billion - will still be utilised if the event does manage to go ahead in 2021.

British Olympic Association chairman Hugh Robertson had earlier said it was unthinkable that the Games would not be put back.