National Governing Bodies and other sports entities solemnly applauded the International Olympic Committee’s decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics to 2021. New dates have yet to be announced.
A global event unlike any other, the Olympics are seen as a shining light that unites the world through sports. They will remain so, officials say, but proceeding during the COVID-19 crisis was not practical.
“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,” the IOC statement read. “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.”
NGBs will be forced to redo their schedules to lead up to the 2021 dates, but executives remain confident their sports will return to prominence in an environment in which athletes feel safe competing.
Here are some responses to the Olympics’ postponement:
Adam Andrasko, Chief Executive Officer, USA Artistic Swimming
“It is a difficult decision to make, but the right one. … As for the USA Artistic Swimming Senior National Team, I am disappointed because the last time the world saw them compete, they showed that they are an Olympic contender. We had built a plan that was going to give them every opportunity to achieve that dream. However, the plan has changed, and they are a very young team that will now have more time to grow.”
Jamie Davis, CEO, USA Volleyball
“I envision the world’s top athletes coming together in Tokyo next year sharing the message that as a world, we can unite as one team even though wearing the country flags of many.”
Tim Hinchey III, Chief Executive Officer, USA Swimming
“All athletes around the world can now focus on what is most important—safeguarding their health and being good global citizens in the wake of this extraordinary pandemic. We will focus on finding ways to support our 400,000 members and their communities, and strategizing with our more than 3,000 clubs to ensure they are well-placed to come out of this stronger than ever.”
Prof. Dr Ugur Erdener, President, World Archery
“This is not an easy situation, especially for the athletes who had been training hard for Tokyo 2020. I hope that everyone understands why this decision has been made, and I urge archers around the world to retain hope and reset for this new timetable. Because, at the end of this difficult period, the Olympics and Paralympics will stand as a celebration of our resilience, our strength and our international community.”