UPDATED 3/24, 9:20 a.m. ET: The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed by a year, the first time the Games have ever been rescheduled, according to Deadline.
The Summer Olympics mark the largest event that has been suspended because of coronavirus.
UPDATED 3/23, 1:35 p.m. ET: On Monday, USA Today reported that The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone this summer's games. The decision comes after much deliberation due to growing concerns over the coronavirus.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said in a phone interview. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
“It will come in stages,” he said. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
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Despite the games not having yet been officially postponed, it's hard to imagine them going forward with a July 24 start date. With that in mind, the latest rumor that the games will be canceled, makes sense. According to the Financial Times, the International Olympic Committee is in talks to postpone the games. Japan’s Olympics minister has indicated another plan of action: that the games will still take place in 2020 but might be moved to a later part of the year. “We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” Seiko Hashimoto said, per the FT.
“Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations,” the local organizing committee also said. “The rest is speculation.”
The New York Times reports that Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed that the Olympic Games will move forward with the intended dates. "We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned,” he said.
After an emergency meeting on Sunday, the International Olympic Committee has reportedly decided it will make the final decision on whether to consider postponing in four weeks. The IOC announced that “cancellation is not on the agenda." The announcement arrived as a number of high-profile athletes and international sport organizations suggested postponing Tokyo 2020.
In a letter to the athletes, IOC president Thomas Bach wrote, “We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks.” The statement also signaled that the IOC will “step up” its ideas on alternate plans.
“These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games,” the letter continues. “This step will allow better visibility of the rapidly changing development of the health situation around the world and in Japan. It will serve as the basis for the best decision in the interest of the athletes and everyone else involved.”
If the Olympics do get postponed, they'll join nearly every other major event, both sports and otherwise, that have met a similar fate.