The Tokyo Olympics officially has a new start date after being postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021," the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday, March 30. The Paralympic Games will follow, running from August 24 through September 5.
"With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge," IOC President Thomas Bach said, per NPR. "Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel."
The president of the Tokyo 2020 games, Mori Yoshirō added, "A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable."
The Tokyo Olympics is just one of many national and international sporting events, concert tours, and other large-scale gatherings that have been canceled due to the current global health crisis. 2020 marks the first time the Olympics has been postponed, though it was suspended three times due to World War I and World War II.
This is, obviously, incredibly disappointing for the athletes who have been preparing for the games since 2016, But many have expressed their support of the move—and now they have an official date to work toward for 2021. "Just one more year to get better," decorated American swimmer Lily King posted. "This Olympics was going to be the most important Olympics of my career because of everything that's happened in my past," another swimmer, Ryan Lochte, said. "But this whole thing is way bigger than me. It's way bigger than the Olympians. It's affecting the entire world right now. Our main thing is staying safe and healthy."
The Olympics is always a time when the country and the world comes together, and we can only guess that we'll feel that more than ever in Tokyo 2021.
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