IOC postpones 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

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The worldwide impact of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the IOC to move the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” read a joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo organizing committee.

This is the first time in history that the Olympics have been delayed a year. World War I (1916) and World War II (1940, 1944) marked the only times the Games have been canceled.

One by one, sports leagues around the world have been postponing or canceling their seasons in the last two weeks. It seemed inevitable that the 2020 Games would join that list. Pressure from various National Olympic Committees for the IOC to postpone grew over the last few days, with Canada announcing on Monday that they would not send a team to Tokyo this summer.

Given the enormity of the Olympic Games, which were to be held from July 24 to August 9, the fact that they have been delayed a year tells you that it will be awhile before we’re able to resume a normal sports calendar.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.