8:39 AM PT -- There's even a new countdown clock in Tokyo -- which shows 479 days until the next games. Tick, tick, tick, tick ...
It's official ... the Tokyo Olympics have a new start date -- July 23, 2021.
The International Olympic Committee -- along with officials in Japan -- made the announcement together Monday morning ... deciding it was best to wait a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Games will run from July 23 to August 8.
Officials say there were 3 major considerations that guided their decision:
1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
3. The global international sports calendar.
The IOC says the new dates give everyone "maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."
IOC President Thomas Bach added, "With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel."
"These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
The IOC also noted that "all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged."