The IOC has decided that the Tokyo Olympic
Games will start on July 23, 2021 and run to August 8 after being postponed for
a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 30, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board met to
make the decision.
The Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.
The Paralympic Games, originally due to start on August 24, 2020, will now
take place between August 24 and September 5, 2021.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “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.
“Humankind currently finds itself
in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of
The decision to postpone both events was taken to protect the health of the
athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the new coronavirus.
The new dates also took into consideration the rest of the global sports calendar
after the men’s soccer European Championship was postponed to the summer of
The World Athletics Championships, originally set to take place in Oregon,
USA, between August 6 and August 15, 2021, will now be postponed until 2022.
Olympic organizers hope the delay will allow sufficient time to finish the
qualification process which will follow the same mitigation measures planned
It has previously been confirmed that all athletes already qualified and
quota places already assigned will remain unchanged.
Purchased tickets would be valid for rescheduled events or a refund could be
requested when the new dates were set, organizers previously confirmed.
On March 24, Japan’s PM Abe Shinzo said the Games would be held in their
“complete form” and no later than summer 2021.
Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said he had proposed
the July 23 to August 8 timeframe to the IOC, and that Thomas Bach had agreed,
following consultations with the international sports federations.
It is the first time in the Olympic Games’ 124-year modern history that they have been delayed, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916 because of World War One and again in 1940 and 1944 for World War Two. Cold War boycotts affected the summer Games in Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984 respectively.
Russia will not be totally banned from Rio 2016 following the country’s doping scandal.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will leave it up to individual sports’ governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part.
The IOC decision follows a report in which Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia operated a state-sponsored doping program from 2011 to 2015.
The Rio Olympic Games start on August 5.
Russian competitors who want to take part in the Games will have to meet strict criteria laid down by the IOC.
Any Russian who has served a doping ban will not be eligible for next month’s Olympics. Track and field athletes have already been banned.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “We have set the bar to the limit by establishing a number of very strict criteria which every Russian athlete will have to fulfill if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
“I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete.”
IOC’s decision not to impose a blanket ban came after a three-hour meeting of the body’s executive board, and reaction came quickly.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko described the decision as “objective” but “very tough”, while the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) claimed the IOC had “refused to take decisive leadership”.
The 28 individual federations now have just 12 days to “carry out an individual analysis of each competitor’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of each sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field”.
The International Tennis Federation quickly confirmed on July 24 that Russia’s seven nominated tennis players meet the IOC requirements, having been subjected to “a rigorous anti-doping testing program outside Russia”.
Russia’s full Olympic team would consist of 387 competitors.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already ruled that Russian track and field athletes will not compete at the Games, a decision which was upheld on July 21 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe said: “The IAAF team are ready to offer advice to any International Sports Federations given our experience and what we have learned over the last eight months.”
World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) president Craig Reedie said previously that his organization, which commissioned the McLaren report, wanted the IOC to “decline entries for Rio 2016 of all athletes” submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees.
The IOC also confirmed it will not allow whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to compete as a neutral athlete in Rio.
Yulia Stepanova has previously failed a doping test and also did not satisfy the IOC’s “ethical requirements”.
The statement added: “The executive board would like to express its appreciation for Mrs. Stepanova’s contribution to the fight against doping and to the integrity of sport.”
The IOC was “expressing its gratitude” to Yulia Stepanova by inviting her and her husband to Rio as guests.
USADA chief Travis Tygart described the decision to exclude Yulia Stepanova as “incomprehensible”, adding it will “undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward”.
Russia will remain banned from track and field events at this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping program.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the IAAF.
However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled the suspension can stand.
A handful of Russian athletes could still compete as neutrals at the Rio Games, which start on August 5.
“It’s sad but rules are rules,” said Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, who will be chasing more gold medals in Rio.
Usain Bolt said it was important to send a strong message to the dopers.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva – one of the 68 to appeal to CAS – said the ruling was “a blatant political order”.
The 2012 gold medalist, 34, told the Tass news agency: “Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it was “pleased CAS has supported its position”, adding that the judgement had “created a level playing field for athletes”.
IAAF president Lord Coe added: “This is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing.
“Beyond Rio, the IAAF taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”
Separately, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering calls to ban all Russian competitors across all sports from the Rio Games following a second report into state-sponsored doping.
Some Russian athletes could compete in Rio as neutrals if they meet a number of criteria, including being repeatedly tested outside their homeland.
At least two – 800m runner and doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova and US-based long jumper Darya Klishina – have gone down that path.
Now the CAS ruling has cleared the way for more to follow.
CAS said the ROC could still nominate athletes to compete as neutrals. However, there appears to be little time for athletes to comply with the criteria.
Russia was suspended from track and field events by the IAAF in November 2015 following the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that showed a culture of widespread, state-sponsored doping.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko apologized for Russia’s failure to catch the cheats but stopped short of admitting the scandal had been state-sponsored.
However, another WADA-commissioned report delivered earlier this week – the McLaren report – contained more damaging allegations and suggested senior figures in Russia’s sports ministry were complicit in an organized cover-up.
The report implicated the majority of Olympic sports in the cover-up and claimed that Russian secret service agents were involved in swapping positive urine samples for clean ones.
Following July 18 publication of the McLaren report, the IOC faced calls to ban all Russian competitors from the 2016 Olympics and will hold an second emergency meeting on July 24 to decide its course of action.
The Russian authorities have already suggested that they will look at ways to continue legal action.
Following the ruling, sports minister Vitaly Mutko said CAS had set “a certain precedent” by punishing a collective group for doping offences by individuals.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The principle of collective responsibility cannot be acceptable. The news is not very good.”
The US Olympic Committee has selected Boston as its candidate city to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Boston beat domestic competition from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC to be put forward.
“Our goal is to host Olympic and Paralympic Games that are innovative, walkable and hospitable to all,” said Boston mayor Marty Walsh.
The deadline for cities to apply to host the 2024 Games is September 15.
The International Olympic Committee is due to make a decision in 2017.
The last time the USA hosted a summer games was in Atlanta in 1996, although Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002.
“I very much want to bring the games to the United States to share the incredible spirit of the games with another generation of Americans, and advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” said American IOC executive board member Anita DeFrantz.
The US is the third country after Germany and Italy to officially launch a bidding process.
At an IOC meeting in Monaco in December, a 40-point action plan was voted on to revamp the sporting showpiece.
Potential hosts will find it easier and cheaper to bid under the “Olympic Agenda 2020” reforms and events can be held outside the host country or city.
The 28-sport cap for future summer Olympics has been removed – although there will be no changes to the Rio 2016 schedule.
Instead of a 28-sport limit, each summer Games will be restricted to 10,500 athletes and 310 events.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President John Coates has branded the preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics as the “worst” ever seen.
John Coates said the IOC has taken “unprecedented” action by placing experts in the local organizing committee to ensure the Games go ahead.
“The situation is critical on the ground,” the Australian said.
The news comes as Brazil faces a race to be ready in time for the FIFA World Cup 2014, which starts in 44 days.
John Coates, who has been involved in the Olympics for nearly 40 years, has made six trips to Rio as part of the commission responsible for overseeing the preparations.
IOC Vice-President John Coates has branded the preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics as the worst ever seen
He added that one of the experts embedded in the local committee was a construction project manager.
“The IOC has adopted a more hands-on role,” he said.
“It is unprecedented for the IOC but there is no Plan B. We are going to Rio.”
John Coates said that, in his opinion, this was “a worse situation” than in 2004, when there were concerns about preparations for the Athens Games.
“It’s the worst that I’ve experienced,” he added.
“We have become very concerned. They are not ready in many, many ways. We have to make it happen and that is the IOC approach. You can’t walk away from this.”
Preparations for the 2004 Athens Games were marred by delayed in construction and service delivery, but the venues and infrastructure was ultimately delivered in time.
John Coates said that construction has not even started on some venues in Rio, which will host South America’s first Olympics, while infrastructure is significantly delayed and the city has “social issues that need to be addressed”.
He added that Rio organizers have the same number of staff – 600 – as London did at the same stage in their preparations for 2012, but did not have the necessary experience.
John Coates, who was involved in the organization of the Sydney 2000 Games as head of the Australian Olympic Committee said it was proving difficult for the IOC to get the answers they needed.
“No-one is able to give answers at the moment,” he said.
“Can they use the car parks in the village for recovery centers? What will be the time to take from this venue to this venue?
“All of those things, they’re being fobbed off.”
John Coates also claimed that only two people were working in Rio’s test event department with tournaments scheduled to start this year.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that Saudi Arabia will send two female athletes to compete in the London 2012 Games.
Sarah Attar will compete in the 800 m and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in the judo competition.
The Saudi authorities lifted a ban on women from the Gulf kingdom competing in the Games last month.
The public participation of women in sport is still fiercely opposed by many Saudi religious conservatives.
IOC President Jacques Rogge said it was “very positive news” and “an encouraging evolution”.
“I am pleased to see that our continued dialogue has come to fruition,” he said in a statement.
Sarah Attar from Saudi Arabia will compete in the 800 m at London Olympics
The IOC, keen to ensure “gender balance” at the Games, had been speaking to the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee about the issue.
Speaking from her training base in the US, Sarah Attar said: “It’s such a huge honour and I hope that it can really make some big strides for women over there to get more involved in sport.”
The inclusion of the Saudi women means that, for the first time in the history of the Games, there will be a female entrant from every competing nation.
Female athletes from Qatar and Brunei are also due to attend for the first time.
Brunei’s Maziah Mahusin will complete in the athletics, while Qatar has entered athletes into the swimming (Nada Arkaji), athletics (Noor al-Malki), table tennis (Aya Magdy) and shooting (Bahiya al-Hamad).
Bahiya al-Hamad is also set to carry the Qatari flag at the opening ceremony, in what she said was a “truly historic moment”.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said the inclusion of Saudi women was a step forward.
“It’s an important precedent that will create space for women to get rights, and it will be hard for Saudi hardliners to roll back,” the organization’s Minky Worden said.
There is almost no public tradition of women participating in sport in Saudi Arabia, and officials have found it difficult to find athletes who could meet the minimum criteria for competing.
Officials have also said that female competitors will need to dress in such a way as “to preserve their dignity”.
This is likely to mean loose-fitting garments and a scarf covering the hair but not the face.
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