Mark your calendars: the next Summer Olympics have been rescheduled to begin July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee and Japan announced Monday morning.
With the new schedule, the Tokyo Olympics will have its Opening Ceremonies on July 23, 2021 ... with the Closing Ceremonies taking place on August 8, 2021. (Despite being held in 2021, the event will maintain the original name of 2020 Tokyo Olympics.)
Just last week, the International Olympic Committee had announced it was postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until 2021 because of concerns about the coronavirus COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.
Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, told sports federations on a conference call a short while before the announcement that "the date was picked to give organizers the maximum time to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus. When he called for a show of support on the call, it was unanimous," the New York Times reported Monday morning.
"The postponement has set off an array of complex planning decisions for the I.O.C. and the Tokyo organizers," the Times continued. "The changes must take into account an array of stakeholders who needs differ wildly, including athletes desperate to know how and when to resume training, and broadcast and commercial partners who will recast their own campaigns."
Holding the Summer Olympics at pretty much the same dates as originally planned - almost exactly one year later - satisfy at least two major challenges. For starters, the new Olympic schedule will avoid clashing with most major sporting events and sports leagues in the United States and Europe year in, year out. What's more, the new dates most likely will be appealing to U.S. Olympics broadcaster NBCUniversal, whose rights fees make up more of the IOC's income than any other single entity.
In a statement issued Monday by the International Olympic Committee, the IOC listed these reasons for delaying the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
3. The global international sports calendar.