Reaction to postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Mar 24, 2020; Tokyo, Japan; People take photos with the Olympic rings monument in front on National Stadium. On Monday the IOC announced that the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics Games would be postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

LONDON (Reuters) – Athletes, national associations and sporting federations from around the world reacted with sadness, relief and mainly goodwill to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After weeks of speculation and mounting criticism at the delay in announcing a postponement, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach agreed the event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 at the latest.

It is the first break in the four-year cycle for the summer Olympics since the 1940 and 1944 Games were cancelled because of World War Two. Here are some reactions to the decision:

IOC President Thomas Bach:

“This Olympic flame will be the light at the end of the tunnel.”

International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons:

“The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible. Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is.”

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic CEO Sarah Hirshland:

“This summer was supposed to be a culmination of your hard work and life’s dream, but taking a step back from competition to care for our communities and each other is the right thing to do. Your moment will wait until we can gather again safely.”

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