Athletes qualified for Tokyo 2020 will keep 2021 spots

Daniel Fowler
March 27, 2020

Last night, Japanese Prime Minister Shizao Abe placed a call from his official residence in Tokyo to IOC President Thomas Bach, proposing that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics be postponed in the face of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. "It is like a huge jigsaw puzzle - if you take out one piece the whole puzzle is destroyed", said Bach.

It's a view shared by Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll and FFA boss James Johnson, who will "open up discussions" with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation.

The Tokyo Games were originally scheduled to begin July 24. A lot of them had been preparing for the Games overseas and would therefore not need to be quarantined on arrival in Japan, he said.

Elite British athletes who had already been selected and qualified for Tokyo 2020 - as well as those who thought that they had missed out - were also seeking answers.

In December, the committee said the Olympic budget would be 1.35 trillion yen, of which the committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government would each pay 600 billion yen with the remaining 150 billion yen provided by the national government.

"That's something we haven't decided on yet", he said.

For some athletes, an extra 12 months might be too long and 38-year-old Swiss Nicola Spirig, who won triathlon gold at the 2012 London Olympics, said she would be considering her options. A change of season, as well as year, would be likely to force further problems in relation to the accessibility of venues and training facilities, of which some are already used during term times.

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But on Sunday, the sources said the International Olympic Committee called an emergency meeting of its executive board after more athletes began voicing health concerns.

"So now the IOC is able to go back and negotiate with the organizing committee and say, 'let's mutually agree to postpone, therefore no one is liable for damages, '" he said.

"We had to keep preparing for the torch relay because if we had canceled it, then it would be clear that we meant to delay the Olympics", he said.

"That said, they're not stupid and they're not unmindful of what's going on all around".

Soon after, the two leaders sealed the deal.

It now displays the day's date and time, just like any other clock in the city.

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