The 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics in Senegal were postponed by four years on Wednesday, in further fallout from delaying the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the decision was discussed two days ago in a telephone conversation with Senegal President Macky Sall. It means Africa will have to wait until 2026 for the continent’s first Olympic hosting duty.
“This was really too heavy workload for everybody,” Bach said during an online news conference, citing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics now opening one year later.
The Beijing Winter Olympics are due to be held in February 2022.
“We would have had to master five [Olympic] Games in just three years,” Bach said.
Bach dismissed a suggestion that a similar postponement for a full four-year Olympic cycle was an option for Tokyo, if the global health crisis persists.
The situations “cannot be compared in any way,” the IOC leader said. “We are and we remain fully committed to celebrate Tokyo 2020 next year in July and August.”
Financial, organizational strain
Addressing other issues, Bach also noted the financial and organizational strain on governing bodies of Olympic sports and the 206 national Olympic bodies because of the pandemic.
Around $100 million US in loans and donations have now been distributed to help sports bodies through a severe cash shortfall this year.
The IOC said $63 million has gone to governing bodies and a further $37 million has gone to national Olympic committees.
The IOC said it can distribute up to $300 million to help “support the actions of the Olympic Movement.”
Also, Bach said the IOC will not “rewrite history” when it comes to perhaps his most controversial predecessor, the late Avery Brundage, whose position in the organization’s history has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks.
The only American to lead the IOC, from 1952-72, has long been criticized for holding racist views and being a Nazi sympathizer at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Last month, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, which houses an extensive collection donated by Brundage, removed his bust from display amid a re-evaluation of racial injustice in the United States. The museum’s director told the New York Times Brundage was “a hateful person.”
“The role of Mr. Brundage has been the focus of many studies and his history is pretty clear and has been evaluated,” Bach said Wednesday. “So we see no reason to rewrite history at this moment.”
In 1975, Brundage was the first recipient of the IOC’s Gold Olympic Order.