The IOC and the 2020 Olympic Games Organizing Committee released a statement March 24, postponing the 2020 Tokyo Games to a later date. The exact details of rescheduling are not yet fully determined but they propose the games will take place not later than Summer 2021.
This announcement comes in the wake of Sunday’s (22nd March) decision by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to pull their athletes out of the 2020 Games if they were to be held as originally intended in July. Yesterday, Field Hockey Canada released a statement in support of the COC’s decision to not send Canadian athletes to a Games scheduled for this summer.
Today, Paul Bundy, coach of the men’s national field hockey team spoke briefly as to what the postponement of the games means to him and the team at this moment.
“It’s obviously disappointing but I definitely think it’s the smart decision by the COC and the IOC. I thought Canada showed good leadership by being the first to make a statement,” he said. “As far as our team goes, we’re resilient. We adapt and manage changes all the time. This is just another one to manage.”
Bundy said the coming weeks is about personal and family support. When the restrictions are lifted, the team plans to get back in action and pick up stronger than when they left off.
“For us, the next six weeks is about prioritizing our family and our health. We’re going to take a break from the pitch and spend time with our families. We want to make sure we get our social distancing right and follow all the advice from the health authorities.
“It’s honestly a relief knowing the games will be postponed by a year. It’s better than being in limbo, not knowing what to expect,” he said. “Once we know we can travel and compete again, we’ll fire it back up and prepare our best for the Olympic competition.”
Field Hockey Canada CEO, Susan Ahrens extends her sympathies to the athletes and applauds them for their ability to adapt and prepare for the next steps.
“We’re happy to the see that the IOC has taken the ethical and sensible route. Everyone agree s that health of our global society is the number one priority right now,” she said. “Given the magnitude of the Olympic Games, delaying by a year gives the athletes the preparation time they need and gives the competition the respect it deserves.”
Ahrens supports the national team athletes in adapting their training and setting their sights on the Olympics in 2021.
“We are proud and impressed with how our athletes are responding to this week’s news. They are showing terrific leadership in the community and will continue to be role models for safe health measures during this difficult time. Field Hockey Canada is glad to have the peace of mind that the Olympic dream is still alive and that the preparations will continue and pick up when it’s safe to do so.”
—- From the IOC Release —-
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.
The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.