Tokyo Olympics to be postponed, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says

A banner for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics is seen behind a traffic sign in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Will Be Postponed To 2021 Due To Covid-19 Pandemic

Update: Tuesday afternoon, Discovery released the following statement about the postponement: "Discovery fully supports the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee's plan to stage the Olympic Games in 2021 and to make every effort to ensure the well-being of spectators, athletes, staff and the global community".

Bach conferred with Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo, Japan's Olympic minister Hashimoto Seiko and the governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko, among others via conference call Tuesday in what was described in the statement as a "very friendly and constructive meeting" that produced the only possible decision.

"We have no doubt that the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee will put on an exceptional Games next year, and that the Olympic flame will once again unite the world and provide a light at the end of this tunnel".

British cyclist Callum Skinner strongly criticised International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, accusing him of placing his own interests first.

After winning the world championships in the in the individual and team pursuits this year, Chloe Dygert automatically qualified to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she hoped to add to her medal tally after taking silver in the team pursuit in Rio.

That statement follows hot on the heels of comments made by longstanding International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound, who on Monday told USA Today during a telephone interview that, "On the basis of the information the International Olympic Committee has, postponement has been decided". Competitions and qualifiers have been scrapped, while worldwide travel is severely limited.

The phone call on Tuesday came amid mounting pressure from athletes and sports organizations to postpone the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading rapidly around the world in the past weeks.

Canada and Australia have already announced they would not be sending athletes to Tokyo, while USA Swimming called on US officials to do the same. In addition to prestige, the games are a source of major economic windfall for the host country.

On Sunday (March 22), the International Olympic Committee announced it would make a final decision on Tokyo 2020 in four weeks' time.

But Tokyo 2020 organisers had pointed to the unparalleled complexity - not to mention cost - of shifting the Games.

"It is mind-bogglingly complex to make a sudden change after seven years of preparation for the biggest sporting event in the world", Michael Payne, the IOC's former head of marketing, told AFP. While it's impossible to know precisely what the COVID-19 situation will look like come summer, the impact of the virus has had such a profound impact on every aspect of life, it has seemed increasingly unlikely that the Olympics would be able to proceed as scheduled.

Trudeau issues stark warning to Canadians: Stay home, now
Pope calls for world prayer to stop coronavirus