COVID-19 Olympics

Olympics Officially Rescheduled For 2021

The world’s biggest sporting event has officially been rescheduled, as the International Olympic Committee announced the revised dates for the Tokyo 2020 Games on Monday.

It was announced last week that the 2020 Olympics would not begin as scheduled this July, due to the global spread of the COVID-19 virus. After a few days of discussion, the IOC announced the 2020 Games will now take place in Tokyo from July 23 through August 8 2021. The Paralympic Games will take place August 24 through September 5.

“The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020, also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause can be kept to a minimum,” said the IOC in a statement about the change. “Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process.”

The Games will still be officially referred to as the 2020 Olympics. This marks the first alteration to an Olympic schedule since World War II canceled the Games in 1940 and 1944; the only other time it happened was in 1916, due to World War I. The IOC said that this year’s postponement is the first time the Olympics have been postponed during peacetime.

The last several weeks have been marked by worldwide cancelations and indefinite postponements of athletic events and much of regular life. The Olympics rescheduling is the first major event to put a new calendar on the date, offering hope of a time when gathering for games is once again a routine activity.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel,” said IOC president Thomas Bach in a statement. “These Olympic Games can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Among the other proposals on the table for the IOC were possibly canceling the Games altogether (unlikely), or pushing all future Olympic events back a year. Moving them to 2021 means that there will be two Olympics taking place in Asia within six months, as the 2022 Winter Games will kick off in Beijing on February 4, 2022.

The announcement of the new dates sets off a global domino effect. Within a few hours of Monday afternoon’s announcement, the international governing bodies over track and field and swimming canceled plans for the 2021 world championships, with several more cancelations of similar events expected to be announced later this week.

While the eyes of the world are typically focused on the Olympics during the three weeks that the Games are happening, there’s really a 12-24 month run-up of qualifications prior, which is why the announcement needed to be made quickly if the 2020 Games were to be salvaged in some way. The IOC also announced that any individual or team that’s already qualified will retain that status for the new dates.

That’s great news for Wilson alum and homegrown Long Beach sailor Riley Gibbs and partner Anna Weis, who became the first Long Beach athletes to qualify for the XXXII Olympiad last month. Other local expected to compete for Olympic spots include recent Long Beach State volleyball alums TJ DeFalco, Josh Tuaniga, and Kyle Ensing, as well as several water polo players.

One of the dominoes to fall in the wake of the IOC’s announcement was the rescheduling of the Dew Tour, the annual skateboard competition and festival that has taken place in Long Beach the last five years. This year’s Dew Tour was originally scheduled for May but has now been rescheduled for September 10-13.

The event was going to be the last Olympic qualifying event, and may still remain a qualifying event for the Games.

“World Skate, as the sport’s governing body, is working to provide an update on the status of skateboarding’s suspended Olympic qualification system,” said the Dew Tour release.

The event will be televised nationally on NBC.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.