The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be held from July 23–August 8, 2021, and the Paralympic Games will take place from August 4–September 5, 2021.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan delivered the announcement on March 30.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on March 24 that the Tokyo 2020 Games would be postponed for one year due to the rapid development of the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. At the time Abe said delaying the Games until 2021 will provide athletes with the best conditions and a safe and secure tournament.

As per the joint statement by the IOC and Tokyo 2020, the Games will retain their current name and will continue to be known as The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) in order to enable all official merchandise, torches, emblems, mascot characters, etc., to be used going forward.

Tokyo 2020 Set for Summer of 2021

There was some speculation that the Tokyo 2020 Games would be scheduled for spring or autumn of 2021 to avoid Tokyo’s summer heat. The Olympic marathon race had already been relocated further north to Sapporo in Hokkaido for this very reason. When Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964, the Summer Games were held in October.

In a press release, the IOC said the reasoning for holding the Games exactly one year after the originally planned 2020 Games is to give health authorities and all involved time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IOC said the new dates have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum. Additionally, the one-year postponement will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented, they said.

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, said in a released statement that it was his proposal to schedule the Games during the same summer time period.

“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,” Mori said. “In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.”

Tokyo 2020 Tickets

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee also announced that, in principle, they will work on measures to ensure that purchased tickets will be valid for the corresponding rescheduled events.

Once the new dates are set, upon request Tokyo 2020 plans to issue refunds in respect of the face value of tickets for ticketholders who will find it difficult or impossible to attend events because of the change of dates or venues.

Tokyo 2020 will suspend plans to deliver tickets from May 2020 onwards and they will suspend the spring ticket sales program that was scheduled from April 2020.

They  are also currently considering how to handle the numbered ticket postcard lottery and will announce this in due course.

Feature photo: Chaay_Tee /