International Olympic Committee formally postpones games due to coronavirus pandemic - NBC's Jay Gray reports
TOKYO, Japan (KYMA, KECY/NBC News) - The stadiums and arenas of the 2020 Summer Olympics are empty. And now we know, they will stay that way for the better part of a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"So, this all spiraled very very quickly, as paralleled the diseases outbreak across the world, it led to this inevitable." says Mike Tirico, who will host the games for NBC Sports.
Japanese and International Olympic Committee (IOC) members officially announced Tuesday the games will be delayed.
"To safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns the illness is "accelerating."
For U.S. athletes, the decision is a necessary hurdle in their quest for gold.
"I just want a fair shot. I want to be at my best competing against other people who are at their best in order to make an Olympic team." says Colin Van Wicklen of the U.S. Gymnastics Mens National Team.
In a letter to Team USA members, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland says "my heart breaks for you.." calling the delay "the right thing to do..."
Hirshland also urges athletes to take care of themselves and their communities writing: "Your moment will wait until we can gather again safely."
The Olympic flame now remains in Tokyo. It will remain a beacon of home for that time when the world can once again gather and celebrate both sport, and the victory over the deadly virus.