The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games.
Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start.
"The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games," Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. "This will only accelerate our progress."
Last week, the IOC and Japanese organizers postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.
There had been talk of switching the Olympics to spring, a move that would coincide with the blooming of Japan's famous cherry blossoms. But it would also clash with European soccer and North American sports leagues.
Mori said a spring Olympics was considered but holding the games later gives more space to complete the many qualifying events that have been postponed by the virus outbreak.
"We wanted to have more room for the athletes to qualify," Mori said.
After holding out for weeks, local organizers and the IOC last week postponed the Tokyo Games under pressure from athletes, national Olympic bodies and sports federations. It's the first postponement in Olympic history, though there were several cancellations during wartime.
The Paralympics were rescheduled to Aug. 24-Sept. 5.
The new Olympic dates would conflict with the scheduled world championships in track and swimming, but those events are now expected to also be pushed back.
"The IOC has had close discussions with the relevant international federations," organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said. "I believe the IFs have accepted the games being held in the summer."
Muto said the decision was made Monday and the IOC said it was supported by all the international sports federations and was based on three main considerations: to protect the health of athletes, to safeguard the interests of the athletes and Olympic sport, and the international sports calendar.
"These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," the IOC said. "The new dates ... also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs."
Both Mori and Muto have said the cost of rescheduling the Olympics will be "massive" — local reports estimate billions of dollars — with most of the expenses borne by Japanese taxpayers.
Muto promised transparency in calculating the costs, and testing times deciding how they are divided up.
"Since it (the Olympics) were scheduled for this summer, all the venues had given up hosting any other events during this time, so how do we approach that?" Muto asked. "In addition, there will need to be guarantees when we book the new dates, and there is a possibility this will incur rent payments. So there will be costs incurred and we will need to consider them one by one. I think that will be the tougher process."
Katsuhiro Miyamoto, an emeritus professor of sports economics at Kansai University, puts the costs as high as $4 billion. That would cover the price of maintaining stadiums, refitting them, paying rentals, penalties and other expenses.
Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics. However, an audit bureau of the Japanese government says the costs are twice that much. All of the spending is public money except $5.6 billion from a privately funded operating budget.
The Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee is contributing $1.3 billion, according to organizing committee documents. The IOC's contribution goes into the operating budget.
IOC President Thomas Bach has repeatedly called the Tokyo Olympics the best prepared in history. However, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso also termed them "cursed." Aso competed in shooting in the 1976 Olympics, and was born in 1940.
The Olympics planned for 1940 in Tokyo were canceled because of Japan's war with China.
The run-up to the Olympics also saw IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda, who also headed the Japanese Olympic Committee, forced to resign last year amid a bribery scandal.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Md Zahid Ahsan Russel on Monday said all the stadiums across the country especially the indoor ones will be used for providing treatment to the coronavirus patients if needed.
“All the stadiums including the indoor ones will be used for providing medical services to the patients infected with coronavirus and we have already used those for the accommodation of the members of law enforcement agencies engaged for tackling coronavirus in the city as well as other parts of the country,” said Russel.
The Minister said that there are 80 stadiums in the capital and different distirts and the number mini-stadiums in different upazilas is 125.
“The government has taken all necessary preparations to tackle the spread of the coronavirus and we are prepared for tackling any situation,” he said.
Michael Phelps has been open about his mental health struggles, even as he became the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
Now, with the Tokyo Games on hold because of the coronavirus, the retired swimming great worries that some athletes may have trouble coping with this unprecedented postponement.
"It's a total bamboozle," Phelps told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "There's such a wave of emotions. I can't imagine what these athletes are going through right now."
In an telephone interview from his Arizona home, where he is largely hunkered down like so many others around the globe, Phelps gave reluctant praise to the International Olympic Committee for putting off the games until 2021 while the world deals with the pandemic.
"Honestly, my first thought was I was relieved," he said. "Now, there's more of a chance that we can beat this thing and do what we need to do to save as many lives as possible. I was happy to see them logically making a smart decision. It's just frustrating it took this long."
With the anticipated Olympic postponement now official, Phelps turned his attention to the world-class athletes who must deal with another jarring change to their preparations, even as they were still processing the cutbacks in training and lack of human contact stemming from worldwide efforts to curtail the virus.
Since his retirement in 2016, following an unprecedented Olympic career that produced 23 golds and 28 medals overall, Phelps has talked of suffering from depression and anxiety. He even had thoughts of suicide at his lowest points.
He knows this is a challenging time for those who had their sights on the Olympics, which were scheduled to open on July 24 but now have been delayed by up to a year.
"As athletes, we're so regimented," Phelps said. "At this point, all the work is done. We're just fine tuning the small things to get to this point. Now it's like, 'Oh ... we're not competing.' All these emotions start flaring up. I really think mental health is so important right now."
Phelps said the key to coping is keeping things as simple as possible.
"Just control what you can control," he said. "We're in such uncharted waters. We're getting all these big questions thrown at us: What if? What if? What if? It's so hard to understand. We're having a hard time just wrapping our head around it."
Thinking back to his own career, Phelps said he probably could have coped with a postponement just fine during the prime of his career because he had such steely focus on his goals. But he probably would have struggled with a delay leading up to the 2012 London Games, when his motivation was lagging and he wasn't even sure he wanted to compete.
"I was barely holding it together by the seams," Phelps recalled. "I don't know if I could've made it another year."
He retired after London, only to return to the pool less than two years later with a newfound passion that carried him to five more golds and a silver in Rio.
Phelps said he will gladly offer counseling and a shoulder to lean on to any athlete who is struggling over these next weeks and months.
"Some guys have already reached out, asking questions about what they can do," he said. "Anything I can do to support my friends and others who want to try to accomplish their goals and dreams, I'll do it. This is such a big time for mental health. It's more important now than it ever was before. I hope everybody is taking care of themselves mentally and physically at this time. I'm always available and open at any hour to anybody who needs help."
Now 34, Phelps is happily married with three young sons. Though he has no plans for another comeback, he is still involved in the sport through a swimwear company and other business ventures.
He was looking forward to attending the Olympics as a spectator for the first time. He hasn't been to Japan since his breakthrough performance at the 2001 world championships.
"I'm somebody who truly loves and enjoys watching the sport at the highest level," Phelps said. "I obviously know what it takes to get there. I was truly looking forward to seeing how everybody was doing."
He still plans to be at the Olympics.
But, like everyone else, his plans are hold.
This summer's Tokyo Olympics fell victim to the coronavirus crisis Tuesday as the death toll mounted rapidly in Europe and the United States, while American lawmakers closed in on a nearly $2 trillion deal to blunt the outbreak's economic damage.
The International Olympic Committee postponed the Olympics until 2021 on the recommendation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, adding the games to the long roster of sports events disrupted by the deadly outbreak.
In Washington, top congressional and White House officials said they expected to reach a deal Tuesday on a measure to shore up businesses and send relief checks to ordinary Americans. Stocks rallied around the world on the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging more 1,100 points, or over 6 percent, in early trading.
President Donald Trump urged swift action, tweeting: "Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today. The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy."
Meanwhile, Spain started storing bodies in an ice rink converted to a morgue, and the World Health Organization warned that infections around the globe are expected to increase "considerably."
Some 85% of new infections came from Europe and the United States, according to the WHO, with Spain registering a record daily increase of 6,584 new infections and a leap of 500 in the death toll to 2,696.
In Madrid, vans driven by workers in protective suits and masks brought bodies to the Palacio de Hielo — Ice Palace — mall to store at its indoor skating rink until they can be buried or cremated after other facilities became overwhelmed.
Spanish army troops disinfecting elderly nursing homes discovered elderly people living amid the bodies of suspected coronavirus victims. Prosecutors launched an investigation.
The Spanish capital last week adapted two hotels to serve as emergency hospitals to help with the overflow of COVID-19 patients. It plans to convert five more. The city has also set up a field hospital.
As health care workers worked around the clock, they also struggled with scarce supplies.
"All over the country, you see examples of workers inventing homemade suits using plastics," said Olga Mediano, a lung specialist at a hospital in Guadalajara, a city east of Madrid. "The protective suits are fundamental because without health workers we won't be able to do anything."
More than 387,000 people worldwide have been infected by the new coronavirus and more than 16,700 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. More than 101,000 people have recovered, including more than 60,000 in China.
In Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris cited a "glimmer of hope" in hard-hit Italy after two days of slight declines in the number of new cases and deaths, while cautioning it's "early days yet" — and the trend needed to be monitored.
In another positive sign, Chinese authorities said they would finally end a two-month lockdown in hard-hit Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak first began.
Still, Harris said the scope of the global outbreak was "enormous" and that cases were expected to increase "considerably."
"Just to put it in proportion: It took two years in the worst Ebola outbreak we ever had, the West African outbreak, to reach 11,000 deaths," Harris said.
There have been more than 46,000 infections and 530 deaths in the U.S. as the virus continues to spread.
In New York, now one of the world's biggest virus hot spots, authorities rushed to set up the thousands of hospital beds they will need in just weeks to protect the city's 8.4 million people.
In Italy, Spain and France, the pandemic has already pushed national health systems to their breaking points.
The outbreak has killed more than 6,000 Italians, the highest death toll of any country. Officials said Monday the virus had claimed just over 600 more lives, down from 793 two days earlier.
Amid the spiking numbers in Spain, relatives of elderly people and retirement homes' workers are expressing growing concern about the situation in retirement homes across Spain, especially in Madrid.
"We live in anguish, we have no information whatsoever," said Esther Navarro, whose 97-year-old mother with Alzheimer is at the Residencia Usera in Madrid where some of the cases have been identified.
Confusion rippled through Britain on the first morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week halt to all nonessential activity. The government has told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicines or to exercise. But photos showed crowded trains Tuesday on some London subway lines.
"I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now," London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted. "Ignoring these rules means more lives lost."
The Philippine Congress approved a bill declaring a national emergency and authorizing President Rodrigo Duterte to launch a massive aid program and tap private hospitals and ships to help as the virus outbreak starts to take hold in the Pacific nation, which has reported 552 cases.
Pakistan ordered its railways shutdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus as cases climbed to 903. Bangladesh, with only 39 infections, also shut down all passenger rail as a precaution and suspended all domestic flights.
In contrast to other European nations, German health authorities offered some hope that the country has flattened the exponential spread of the virus, which has already infected some 30,000.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government approved a massive new aid package to cushion the economic fallout of the outbreak, offering more than 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) to tide over small companies and entrepreneurs and pump capital into bigger companies.
The death rate in Germany has been low, with 130 recorded so far, and Germany has taken in patients from France and Italy for treatment.
IOC members, national Olympic committees and athletes were all racing toward the same conclusion Monday: The Tokyo Olympics are not going to take place this summer.
Craig Reedie, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press that everyone can see where things are headed, with the coronavirus pandemic spreading and Olympic hopefuls around the world unable to train.
"In the balance of probabilities, the information known about conditions in Japan and the COVID-19's effect on the rest of world clearly indicates the likelihood of postponement," Reedie said. "The length of postponement is the major challenge for the IOC."
Earlier in the day, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that he had reached the same conclusion about the games, which are scheduled to start July 24. A tweet put out by the newspaper read: "The 2020 Summer Olympics Have Been Postponed Over Coronavirus Concerns."
The IOC said no decision had been made, and Reedie was quick to acknowledge that he was speaking only for himself and not because of any insight provided to him by IOC president Thomas Bach, who will guide the final decision. Pound did not return a message left by AP. Earlier in the day, after Pound's pronouncement, an IOC spokesman said, "It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC (executive board) from Sunday."
Indeed, the interpretations and opinions are just that and haven't always been spot-on. Last month, Pound told AP that cancellation, not postponement, was the only real option if the Tokyo Games couldn't start on time.
But a lot has changed since then, and the rapid momentum of the "postpone" movement among athletes and nations seemed to diminish the likelihood that it will take all of four weeks for the IOC to reach a conclusion. That was the timeline the IOC's executive committee decided on Sunday when it announced it was putting together working groups to study the massive logistical issues involved in postponing the games.
Among those issues include the availability of venues in Japan, the disruption to the international sports calendar during whatever new date is chosen, the resetting of qualifying procedures, and insurance considerations; both the IOC and the Japanese organizing committee hold massive policies, the legalese of which will take time to unwind.
After that IOC announcement, however, both Canada and Australia — whose senior Olympic official is IOC member John Coates, the leader of the Tokyo inspection team — sent word that they would not or could not send teams to Japan for an Olympics that start in July.
"I know this is heartbreaking for so many people — athletes, coaches, staff and fans — but this was absolutely the right call, and everyone should follow their lead," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Other key delegations that have pushed for a postponement include World Athletics, the international federation for the centerpiece sport of the Olympics, along with Olympic committees in Brazil, Slovenia and Germany. USA Swimming and USA Track and Field, which combine to form about a third of the U.S. team, also want a new date.
Athletes also grew louder in their request for postponement. A track group called The Athletics Association joined another athlete group, Global Athlete, in pressing the IOC to act.
The track group is led by two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the U.S., who said more than 4,000 track and field athletes responded to a survey, and 87% said their training had been adversely affected by the coronavirus.
Individual athletes continued to speak out as well.
"Although I am upset that the Olympics will not be happening this year, I agree that this is the best decision in order to keep the athletes and spectators healthy and to prevent the virus from spreading further," U.S. gymnast Morgan Hurd said in a tweet, reacting to Pound's comments.
And while saying it's a done deal might be jumping the gun, it feels inevitable the announcement will come.