Tokyo Olympics 2020 Postponed

Why in News

The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee have decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games to the summer 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • However, the Olympics Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
  • The decision came after some of the major sporting nations like Australia and Canada withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
  • The nations withdrew in the backdrop of limited international travel, difficulty in training and exposed risk of contracting or spreading the disease.


  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named the new coronavirus disease as ‘COVID-19’.
  • The new name is taken from the words "corona", "virus" and "disease", with 2019 representing the year when it emerged (the outbreak was reported to the WHO on 31st December, 2019).
  • The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain. The latest strain has been designated ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)’ by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
    • According to the WHO, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.

Key Points

  • Historic Postponement :
    • The organisers have postponed the event for the first time in its 124-year modern history.
      • The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 at Athens (Greece).
    • It is also considered as the first postponement of an Olympics in peacetime.
    • Earlier, the games were not held during World War II considering the turmoil across the world.
    • In 1940, Japan was to be the first Asian country to host the Olympics.
      • But its military aggression in Asia forced the annulment of the Olympics scheduled in Japan.
      • The 1940 Olympics is known as the “Missing Olympics” after the Games were switched to Helsinki (Finland) before finally being scrapped because of World War II.
  • Economic Cost:
    • Tokyo was spending $12.6 billion to host the Games and a postponement could cost it $6 billion as the short-term period loss.
    • It will also be a bitter blow to sponsors and major broadcasters who rely on this four-yearly event for critical advertising revenue.


  • Origin:
    • Olympic Games originated in ancient Greece and were an intrinsic part of a religious festival. They were held in honour of Zeus (the greek god of the sky) at Olympia in Greece.
  • Modern Olympics Games:
    • Olympic Games were revived in the late 19th century.
    • The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 at Athens (Greece).

    • The architect of the modern Olympics Games was Pierre, baron de Coubertin.
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC):
    • It was created on 23 June 1894 and is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement.
    • It is a not-for-profit independent international organisation that is committed to building a better world through sport.
    • It ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, supports all affiliated member organisations and strongly encourages, by appropriate means, the promotion of the Olympic values.
  • Pattern of Olympics Games:
    • The Olympics have been held every four years since 1948.
    • The honour of holding the Olympic Games is entrusted to a city, not to a country. The choice of the city lies solely with the IOC.
      • Thus , the application to hold the Games is made by the chief authority of the city, with the support of the national government.