The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach admitted that an ideal solution may not be available for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In an address to athletes, Bach however said that this is a chance for the Olympics to be "a celebration of humanity after having overcome this unprecedented crisis of the coronavirus".
Bach said that in his telephonic conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, the pair agreed that it won't be possible to hold the Olympics this year due to the relentless spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed close to 19,000 lives globally.
"In order to safeguard the health of the athletes and everybody involved in the Olympics and to make a contribution to the containment of the coronavirus, we agreed to postpone the Olympics to latest the summer of 2021," said Bach.
"But there is a lot of uncertainty remaining for the entire humanity. We are together in a very dark tunnel and we don't know what is happening tomorrow. We want this Olympic flame to be the light at the end of the tunnel and so we will undertake this extremely challenging task of postponing the Games and of organising a postponed Games which has never happened before.
"We have no blueprint for this. We will need everybody's contribution to make this happening because the Olympics are the most complex event on this planet. We want to provide you with the best conditions and a safe environment so give us some time now to analyse these big questions and put this huge jigsaw puzzle together."
The IOC has been coming under increasing pressure from athletes and federations in the past few weeks due to its adamance that the Games will go forward as planned on July 24. Almost all of the Olympic qualifiers have been either cancelled or postponed over the past two months due to the spread of coronavirus. Bach said that the athletes can be now sure of making their Olympic dream come true. He also said that being able to successfully host the Olympics next year would be a celebration of humanity's triumph over coronavirus.
"You can be sure that you can make your Olympic dream come true. And imagine what this can mean for all of us. These Olympic games could then finally be a celebration of humanity after having overcome this unprecedented crisis of the coronavirus," he said.
"It could be a true celebration of the determination we have and the Olympic spirit which unites us all. You would be the main protagonist of this Olympic community celebrating this light at the end of the tunnel for humanity. I cannot promise ideal solutions but I can promise that we do everything to have the best possible games for everybody and first and foremost for you, the athletes.
"I ask you to be flexible, united and give us the information to make all this happen. And then hopefully we will see each other in Tokyo in 2021 to celebrate a successful Olympic games together with all of humanity and look into a brighter future for all of us."