Will the Tokyo Olympics even happen next year?

There was no time to waste. From the moment that Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee [IOC] president, Thomas Bach, made the announcement that the Tokyo Olympics were to be postponed until 2021, they immediately sought to reassure the world that, come what may, the Games were going to go ahead.

Cancelling the Games was “out of the question”, Abe insisted. And while the more matter-of-fact Bach did admit that a cancellation had been briefly “considered”, he was quick to add that “it was very clear that should not be something the IOC would in any way favour”.

The IOC moved quickly. They immediately published a statement, along with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, in which they promised the Games would “be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021”. They eventually decided on 23 July – 8 August 2021. And, a little later, they said the Games would continue to be known as the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” – regardless of the year they would eventually end up taking place in.

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