The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed until 2021 on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation that the games could not go ahead as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee made the decision after speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers.
The IOC said the games will be held “not later than summer 2021” but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the IOC said in a statement.
“Utter relief. Excitement. Uncertainty. We’re in unprecedented times,” Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe told CBC Sports. On March 14, she clinched her second Olympic at the Pan American qualifying event in Ottawa. “We’ll be more ready than ever in 2021 and wearing the Maple Leaf with more pride than I thought was possible.”
Before the official announcement, Abe said Bach had agreed with his proposal for a one-year postponement.
Pressure mounted to postpone
“President Bach said he will agree ‘100%,’ and we agreed to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2021 at the latest,” Abe said, saying holding the games next year would be “proof of a victory by human beings against the coronavirus infections.”
On Sunday, Bach said a decision on postponing the games would be made in the next four weeks. But pressure grew as national federations, sports governing bodies and athletes spoke out against having the opening ceremony as planned on July 24.
The decision came only a few hours after local organizers said the torch relay would start as planned on Thursday. It was expected to start in northeastern Fukushima prefecture, but with no torch, no torchbearers and no public. Those plans also changed.
“For the time being, the flame will be stored and displayed in Fukushima,” organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said.
The Olympics have never before been postponed, and have only ever previously been cancelled in wartime.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers said they hope the decision to postpone will help the world heal from the pandemic.
Track and field, aquatics worlds were slated for 2021
Canadian hockey great Hayley Wickenheiser, a member of the IOC’s Athletes Commission, had harsh words for the IOC a week ago, saying in a statement posted on Twitter that the current crisis is bigger than any Olympics.
At time, the IOC continued to insist the Games would begin in four months on July 24.
The six-time Olympian was thrilled with Tuesday’s announcement.
Very happy to hear <a href=”https://twitter.com/Tokyo2020?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Tokyo2020</a> moved to 2021. Best case scenario given the circumstances. The message athletes deserved to hear. To all the athletes: take a breath, regroup, take care of yourself and your families. Your time will come. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/tokyo2021?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#tokyo2021</a>
Postponing the Games for a year is “the only decision” the IOC could make, according to Scott Russell of CBC Sports.
“It is obviously going to require some negotiation going forward,” he told CBC News Network. “The world (track and field) championships were to be held in the summer of 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. The world aquatics championships were to be held in Fukuoka, Japan in the summer of 2021, but all of those international sports organizations have obviously come together and realized that in order to protect the Olympic Games, they’ve gotta forego those championships and allow the world to host a safe Olympics in the summer of 2021.”
WATCH | Scott Russell on Olympic future of veteran Canadian athletes:
Canada’s Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, told News Network the postponement will create some complications but “it’s better than exposing athletes to a dangerous situation.”
Fate of athletes who qualified for 2020 Games?
In February, Pound received flak from the Tokyo organizing committee and Japanese government when he stated an Olympic decision could be made as late as two months out from the start of the Games.
“That the end of May is the time-limit, we have never thought of this or heard of such a comment,” Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said in response to Pound. “Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled (on July 24).”
Pound, who has been a member of the IOC since 1978 and served two terms as vice-president, wondered about those athletes who had already qualified for an Olympics in 2020.
“Someone who qualified in 2020 might get surpassed by an up-and-comer by 2021,” he said. “That’s another negotiation point.”
Historic Saints kicker Tom Dempsey dies after fight with coronavirus – Yahoo Canada Sports
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey died Saturday due to complications from the coronavirus. He was 73.” data-reactid=”25″>New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey died Saturday due to complications from the coronavirus. He was 73.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For decades, Dempsey was known for making one of the most famous kicks in NFL history. With the Saints trailing the Detroit Lions by two points — and just two seconds remaining in the game — Dempsey lined up for a then-record 63-yard field-goal attempt.” data-reactid=”26″>For decades, Dempsey was known for making one of the most famous kicks in NFL history. With the Saints trailing the Detroit Lions by two points — and just two seconds remaining in the game — Dempsey lined up for a then-record 63-yard field-goal attempt.
Dempsey drilled the kick, setting a record that lasted decades. He was mobbed by his teammates and was eventually carried off the field.
Born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot, Dempsey played 11 seasons in the NFL. While only two came with the Saints, New Orleans was the place Dempsey considered home.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Dempsey’s 63-yard field goal stood until 2013, when it was broken by Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater and his 64-yard field goal. Five other kickers tied Dempsey’s record.” data-reactid=”30″>Dempsey’s 63-yard field goal stood until 2013, when it was broken by Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater and his 64-yard field goal. Five other kickers tied Dempsey’s record.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In 2012, Dempsey revealed he was dealing with dementia. He had been living in a senior center when he contracted the coronavirus. Dempsey was diagnosed with the virus on Mar. 25, according to his daughter Ashley.” data-reactid=”31″>In 2012, Dempsey revealed he was dealing with dementia. He had been living in a senior center when he contracted the coronavirus. Dempsey was diagnosed with the virus on Mar. 25, according to his daughter Ashley.
While Dempsey’s symptoms were mild initially, his condition worsened. Dempsey was quarantined after contracting the virus, but was able to speak with his family every day over video chat.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More from Yahoo Sports:” data-reactid=”33″>More from Yahoo Sports:
Ex-Saints K Dempsey dies from coronavirus – TSN
NEW ORLEANS — Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey, who played in the NFL despite being born without toes on his kicking foot and made a record 63-yard field goal, died late Saturday while struggling with complications from the new coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 73 years old.
The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate first reported Dempsey’s death. Ashley Dempsey said Sunday that her father, who has resided in an assisted living home for several years after being diagnosed with dementia, tested positive for the coronavirus a little more than a week ago.
The Orleans Parish coroner has yet to release an official cause of death.
Dempsey’s game-winning field goal against Detroit on Nov. 8, 1970, stood as an NFL record for 43 years until the Broncos’ Matt Prater broke it with a 64-yarder in Denver in 2013.
Dempsey spent 11 seasons in the NFL: His first two seasons were with New Orleans (1969-70), the next four with Philadelphia, then two with the Los Angeles Rams, one with the Houston Oilers and the final two with Buffalo. He retired after the 1979 season.
“Tom’s life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humour.”
Dempsey was born in Milwaukee without four fingers on his right hand and without toes on his right foot. He kicked straight on with a flat-front shoe that drew protests from some who saw the specially made kicking shoe as an unfair advantage. Former Dallas Cowboys President Tex Schramm compared the shoe to “the head of a golf club.”
But Dempsey would counter that by saying he was merely doing the best he could to use the foot with which he was born, and for the most part, NFL officials, including then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle, agreed. Still, in 1977, the NFL passed what is widely known as the “The Dempsey Rule,” mandating that shoes worn by players with “an artificial limb on his kicking leg must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.”
Dempsey returned to New Orleans after retiring from the league. About seven years ago, he was diagnosed with dementia and later moved to an assisted living home, where he contracted the coronavirus in March during the pandemic that has hit the city — and nursing home — particularly hard. He is survived by wife Carlene, three children, a sister and grandchildren.
His kick has remained part of Saints lore and for a long time stood as one of the greatest moments in the history of a franchise that didn’t make the playoffs until its 21st season in 1987, and didn’t win a playoff game until the 2000 season.
At the time of the kick, the Superdome had yet to be build and the Saints played home games in the old Tulane Stadium, which was demolished in 1979.
The Lions led 17-16 after a short field goal with 11 seconds left.
With no timeouts, the Saints managed to move the ball to their own 45 with 2 seconds left after Billy Kilmer completed a pass to Al Dodd along the sideline.
According to a media reports, special teams coach Don Heinrich was heard barking, “Tell Stumpy to get ready to go in and kick a long one.”
At that time, goalposts were on the goal line, not behind the end zone. The spot of the kick was the Saints 37.
“I was more concerned about kicking it straight because I felt I could handle the distance,” Dempsey told the Times-Picayune. “I knew I was going to get a perfect snap from Jackie Burkett and a perfect hold from Joe Scarpati. It was all up to me. I hit it sweet.”
Kilmer told the Times-Picayune he remembers standing on the sideline seeing Lions players across the field laughing as Dempsey lined up for the momentous kick.
“They thought Tom had no chance,” Kilmer said.
But Dempsey ended up carried off the field on the shoulders of teammates and recalled spending all night at a Bourbon Street bar, celebrating.
“We were there, with all the guys, until the wee hours,” he said. “From what I can recall, I had a great time.”
Both the shoe with which Dempsey kicked the 63-yarder and the ball are in the Saints Hall of Fame in New Orleans, into which Dempsey was inducted in 1989. The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, has another of Dempsey’s specially made kicking shoes, but Dempsey wanted the mementos of the record-breaking kick to remain in New Orleans.
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Potential Compliance Buy-Out Situation a Windfall for the Toronto Maple Leafs – Editor In Leaf
The Toronto Maple Leafs season has been postponed.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have not played since they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning on March the 10th.
Who knows when the NHL will resume, or in what form it will resume in when it does.
Before the break, it was announced that the salary cap would be going up.
This would have greatly benefited the Toronto Maple Leafs. The fact is, however, that with the season paused and potentially even canceled, the revenue based salary cap may not go up as expected.
Toronto Maple Leafs and the Salary Cap
Some people are speculating that if the NHL is forced to maintain or even lower their salary cap, that they might allow teams to have a compliance buy-out.
In essence, this would mean that each team gets a mulligan on their worst deal.
The Leafs do not have a single contract it would make sense to buy out. They only had one bad contract on the roster – Cody Ceci’s $4.5 million – and it expires when the season ends.
All of the other contracts the Leafs have are either short term and reasonable, or they are long-term deals handed out to elite players.
This would be a major windfall for the Leafs because while they don’t have any contracts to get rig of, they are the NHL’s richest team.
Therefore if there is a situation where they can buy players out, the Leafs will get paid.
Here is an example of how the situation would work: The dirt poor Florida Panthers (who recently announced plans to slash payroll) would trade the Leafs Sergei Bobrovsky (just for example) and the Leafs would buy out the remaining six years on his $10 million dollar a year deal.
In order to get out of over $60 million dollars owed, the Panthers would pony up a first round pick or a top prospect.
Obviously the best case scenario for the Toronto Maple Leafs is if the cap goes up as reported, and they can then target someone like Alex Pietrangelo to try and put them over the top.
But if the cap does go down, and buy-outs are allowed, the Leafs would have the potential to cash in big time.
It is sort of ironic, since people in the media constantly say the Leafs are in “Cap Hell” despite the fact that with no bad long-term contracts, they are in perhaps the most enviable cap situation in the NHL.
It’s not bad to have spent money, if you’ve spent it well, and the Leafs unquestionably have.
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