Dick Pound, the influential, long-time member of the International Olympic Committee, said what needed to be said Monday afternoon about the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
"Postponement has been decided."
Pound, 78, a Canadian who is the longest-serving IOC member, has been a no-holds-barred, on-the-record stalwart in the world of international sports for as long as I have known him, which is more than 30 years.
While the IOC itself has not officially confirmed what Pound told USA TODAY Sports, he is the man who a month ago dramatically put a deadline on an Olympic decision. He said at the time that in the midst of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, a decision would have to be made on the fate of the Tokyo Games by late May.
His stark words received a lot of attention in the days and weeks that followed, becoming a benchmark in Olympic planning.
And now, this: He has said that the decision has been made, with the next steps to reschedule the Olympics coming within the next four weeks, the time period IOC President Thomas Bach announced Sunday without officially postponing.
"It will come in stages," Pound said. "We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."
Moving a Summer Olympic Games, the largest regularly-scheduled gathering of the world, is going to be a massive undertaking. No one is certain how difficult it is going to be, for one very good reason:
It has never been done before. Olympic Games have been canceled due to World War I and II, and boycotted for political reasons in 1976, 1980 and 1984, but never postponed.
The decision, as announced by Pound, is both extraordinary and poignant. It is the biggest decision ever made in the history of the Olympic Games. Some might see this as just another in a long line of suspensions, postponements and cancellations: the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the NBA, the NHL, the Masters, the Boston Marathon.
But it's much more than that. Postponing an Olympics is nothing at all like suspending a season or a tournament. Preparations for the Tokyo Olympics have been years in the making: all the venues, the Olympic village, hotels, the works.
To not hold the Games this summer is crushing to the hundreds of thousands of people planning to work at and go to the Olympics, even though it is the right decision due to the awful explosion of this deadly virus.
The news is also devastating to Olympians everywhere. As training conditions deteriorated and postponement became inevitable, a sadness enveloped the Olympic world.
The Games were the biggest sports event of the year, and one of the last marquee events of the summer left standing in our world.
Now, according to Pound, they too are gone.