The Summer Games in Tokyo will be postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said Monday.
"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told Christine Brennan of USA TODAY. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."
Pound's revelation comes 24 hours after IOC president Thomas Bach admitted, for the first time, that postponement was a realistic outcome. In a letter sent to the athletes, Bach quashed the possibility of canceling proceedings and instead imposed a four-week deadline for the governing body to make a final decision on potentially delaying the event.
"It will come in stages," Pound said of the rescheduling process. "We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."
Tokyo 2020 is the latest - and largest - sporting event to be affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Numerous leagues worldwide already suspended play in an effort to combat the disease, which has infected over 300,000 people globally and resulted in more than 15,000 deaths.
The statements from Bach and Pound come in the wake of mounting pressure from athletes, nations, and sporting bodies, each of whom implored the IOC to seek a later date.
The strongest of those came Sunday evening when the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees announced they would boycott the event if it went ahead as scheduled.
"While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," the COC and CPC said.
World Athletics president Seb Coe, leader of the biggest sport at the Summer Games, said it was "neither feasible nor desirable" to stage the Olympics in July.
Australia then urged the IOC to act, with the German Olympic Committee doing the same by Monday morning. They noted the threat of the coronavirus makes it impossible to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators.
Later in the day, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, citing a survey of its 1,780 athletes, joined the calls to push back the Summer Games.
"Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can't be overcome in a satisfactory manner," the USOPC said in a statement.
"To that end, it's more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising, and we encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors," the statement continued.
The Olympics have been canceled before - the first and second World Wars derailed the Summer Games in 1916, and the Summer and Winter Games in 1940 and 1944, respectively - but this would be the first time the event has been suspended.