The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have officially been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced this morning in a joint statement.
The exact dates for the rescheduled event haven’t yet been determined. Today’s announcement indicated that the Olympics will happen at “a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.” Given that these are the Summer Games, pushing them back by about a full year seems like the most probable outcome. They were previously scheduled to begin on July 24, 2020.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that he had asked IOC president Thomas Bach for a one-year delay and he agreed “100%,” per Motoko Rich, Matt Futterman, and Tariq Panja of The New York Times. The formal announcement comes less than 24 hours after IOC member Dick Pound said in an interview that the Tokyo Games would be postponed.
As noted in the New York Times report and in a story by Nancy Armour and Tom Schad of USA Today, postponing the 2020 Olympics will be a massive undertaking with a series of logistical challenges, including adjusting TV broadcasting deals, working around world championship events in certain sports, and dealing with venue and hotel availability.
It remains to be seen how the postponement will affect the basketball portion of the Olympics. It’s safe to say that the qualifying tournaments scheduled to take place this June to determine the last four teams in the men’s tournament will also be pushed back. But with the new dates undetermined and the calendars for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 NBA seasons also up in the air, there’s no guarantee that NBA players will be free to participate in those qualifying tournaments — or even in the Olympics themselves.