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Olympic Committee Announces New Dates for Summer Games

People wearing protective face masks following an outbreak of the coronavirus next to the Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo, Japan, February 26, 2020. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23, 2021, about one year after the games were originally scheduled to take place.

“The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games,” said Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori. “This will only accelerate our progress.”

The summer games were originally scheduled to open July 24 and end on August 9 of this year.

An agreement to postpone the games was reached last week between the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers due to the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on populations globally. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe formally requested that the games be delayed.

“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating,” read a joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.

“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 committees wrote.

Canada and Australia previously announced they would not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games if it were held this year over concerns about the outbreak. The British Olympic Association and USA Track and Field had also both demanded the games be postponed.

Athletes themselves called on the committees to postpone the games, demanding that their voices be taken into consideration in the decision.

“Our athletes played a critical role in our decision to request the postponement of the 2020 Games,” said Isabelle McLemore, a spokeswoman for USA Swimming, which called early on for the games to be delayed.

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