The Summer Olympics for 2020 has been delayed until 2021.

  • The International Olympics Committee (IOC) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe have agreed to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics until 2021.
  • Public pressure had been mounting to cancel or postpone the games.
  • Sports bettors who placed futures bets on the 2020 Olympics will have those bets refunded directly to their accounts.
  • This is only the fourth time the Olympics have been postponed or canceled, and the first time they have done so during peacetime.

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach announced Tuesday morning that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games will be postponed until 2021.

The announcement came after weeks of public and media pressure to postpone the games due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

Even as recently as March 17, Tokyo Olympic officials expressed their intention to host the Games as planned. As the global crisis continues to worsen, this solution has become untenable.

There has been no word yet on exactly when the Tokyo Olympics will be held in 2021. Rescheduling a multi-billion-dollar event will likely take some time.

This decision, while far from ideal for the IOC and for the Olympics’ many sponsors and TV benefactors, is widely regarded to be in the best interest of global public health.

What Happens To Olympic Futures Bets?

All Olympic futures bets have been canceled and will be refunded directly to players’ accounts. Major sportsbooks removed Olympic betting options from their websites on Monday after IOC spokesperson Dick Pound told USA Sports that the Games would likely be postponed.

This is yet another huge blow to global sportsbooks, which had already been struggling to adapt to the loss of so many sports around the world.

The IOC and Tokyo will likely have a plan for postponement in place in the next month or two, but don’t expect sportsbooks to offer any more Olympic futures odds until the full extent of the COVID-19 crisis can be assessed.

Postponing The Olympics In Peacetime Is Unprecedented

The Olympic Games have been postponed three times before—in 1916, 1940, and 1944. Eagle-eyed historians will likely recognize those dates as somewhat important, as they happened to coincide with two World Wars.

The Games have never been postponed during a time of relative global peace, but the highly infectious and deadly nature of COVID-19 necessitates drastic action to prevent its spread.

During the height of the Cold War, widespread boycotts caused serious complications for the Games. Many countries elected to stay home during the 1976, 1980, and 1984 Olympic Games. But they were still hosted as planned.

The closest thing we’ve seen to this Coronavirus pandemic was probably the Spanish Flu, from 1918 to 1920.

That disease ultimately infected 500 million people and wreaked global havoc similar to COVID-19, but by the 1920 Summer Olympics, the situation had calmed down enough to host the Games as scheduled.

With so many powerful organizations around the world working tirelessly to slow the spread of Coronavirus, hopefully, life can return to normal return to normal within the next several months.

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