Less than a week after announcing that the Games would be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers decided Monday on a new start date of July 23, 2021. The closing ceremony will be held on Aug. 8.
The Tokyo Olympics had previously been slated to start almost exactly one year earlier, running from July 24 through Aug. 9.
“These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IOC said in a news release.
A postponement of roughly one year had long been thought to be the most logical and likely outcome, given the logistical hurdles involved with the alternatives.
IOC president Thomas Bach had left open the possibility of holding the Games in the spring, which would have featured more favorable weather and allowed Japan to show off its famous cherry blossom trees. But springtime would have presented significant logistical challenges and possibly prevented top athletes in sports like basketball from competing altogether.