Japan, IOC set July 23 next year for start of delayed Olympics

Reuters – Antoni Slodkowski

TOKYO — The postponed Olympic Games will now begin on July 23 next year and run until Aug. 8, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said on Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to plan for them properly this year.

The Games were postponed last week and the delay is the first in the 124-year history of the modern Olympics. The postponement represents a huge blow for Japan, which invested $13 billion in the run-up to the event, and raised $3 billion from domestic sponsors.

Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, confirmed the new dates after he made the decision with the International Olympic Committee. Mori said the Paralympic Games would run from Aug. 24-Sep. 5.

Earlier on Monday, the Games’ chief executive, Toshiro Muto, said the committee was moving “in the direction” of honoring tickets bought for the 2020 Games at the rescheduled event, or providing refunds in case of scheduling changes.

“We want to honor the hopes of all those who purchased the tickets amid high demand,” Muto told a news conference.

But it was too early to say what the additional costs of the delay would be, Muto said. The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world last Tuesday by agreeing to push back the Games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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