Tokyo Olympics postponed, U.S. closes in on relief package

A man walks past a large banner promoting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Monday, March 23, 2020. The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday postponed this summer's Tokyo Games for a year as coronavirus deaths mounted around the world and U.S. lawmakers closed in on a nearly $2 trillion deal to help cushion the economic damage from the crisis.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to start in July, will be postponed, veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA TODAY Sports Monday.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee announced it was considering a postponement and would make a final decision within four weeks. Major Olympic nations like Canada and Australia have added pressure by saying they will not send teams if the games are staged this year.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach sent a letter to athletes explaining the decision, while also acknowledging the extended timeline might not be popular.

"I know that this unprecedented situation leaves many of your questions open," he wrote. "I also know that this rational approach may not be in line with the emotions many of you have to go through."

The IOC's move seemed inevitable for weeks with pressure mounting from all quarters — athletes, sponsors, broadcasters, more than 200 national Olympic committees and international sports federations.

Shortly after Bach's statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it would not send athletes to the Olympics unless the games are postponed by a year. Australia issued a statement saying it was advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021.

John Coates is the head of the Australian Olympic Committee and the IOC member who heads the inspection team for Tokyo.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Recommended for you