The new dates of the Tokyo Olympics have been finalized.

Less than a week after announcing that the Games would be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers have decided on a new start date of July 23, 2021, according to an International Olympic Committee spokesman. The closing ceremony will be held on Aug. 8. 

The Tokyo Olympics had previously been slated to start almost exactly one year earlier, running from July 24 through Aug. 9.

A postponement of roughly one year had long been thought to be the most logical and likely outcome, given the logistical hurdles involved with the alternatives.

IOC president Thomas Bach had left open the possibility of holding the Games in the spring, which would have featured more favorable weather and allowed Japan to show off its famous cherry blossom trees. But springtime would have presented significant logistical challenges and possibly prevented top athletes in sports like basketball from competing altogether.

The Olympic rings stand near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. IOC President Thomas Bach has agreed "100%" to a proposal of postponing the Tokyo Olympics for about one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The finalized dates will bring additional clarity both for athletes, who can now begin to tailor their training schedules to the new dates, and for international federations, which can begin to reschedule conflicting events.

World Athletics, the international governing body that oversees track and field, said it has already been in contact with organizers of its 2021 world championships in Eugene, Oregon, which are scheduled to occur in August 2021. Those will now likely be postponed to 2022.

FINA, the international governing body for swimming, has also indicated that it would reschedule its world championships if they overlapped with the Games.

The Paralympics were rescheduled to Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.



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