An International Olympic Committee member acknowledged Monday that the 2020 Summer Olympics will be postponed.
Dick Pound, an influential IOC member from Canada, told USA Today that the Summer Olympics might not take place until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The games were scheduled to begin July 24 and end August 9 in Tokyo.
More than 11,000 athletes from 206 countries were expected to participate in 33 Olympic sports in Japan this summer, including boxing.
As pressure mounted on the IOC to postpone the Summer Olympics, representatives from countries began announcing that they wouldn’t send athletes to Japan because they won’t have time to prepare properly. Australia and Canada were among those countries.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Assuming an official announcement is forthcoming, it’ll mark the first time either the Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics has been postponed. Olympics have been canceled altogether due to World War I (Summer Games, 1916) and World War II (Summer, Winter Games in 1940 and 1944).
Pound added that the IOC will announce details of its postponement plan soon.
“It will come in stages,” Pound said. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
Pound’s postponement announcement came one day after IOC president Thomas Bach said the committee would take the next four weeks to determine whether the Tokyo Games would be postponed. Bach also said canceling the 2020 Summer Olympics outright wasn’t a possibility.
Olympic boxing qualifying events have already been postponed worldwide due to this pandemic.
USA Boxing announced last week that due to coronavirus restrictions its selection procedures for its men’s and women’s Olympic teams are under review and could be amended. USA Boxing previously announced that it had postponed all sanctioned amateur events in the United States, including state Golden Gloves tournaments, through March 31.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.