TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics are probably going to happen, but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned.

That became clear after the IOC on Sunday announced it was considering a postponement and would make a final decision within four weeks. Major Olympic nations like Canada and Australia have added pressure by saying they will not send teams if the games are staged this year.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach sent a letter to athletes explaining the decision, while also acknowledging the extended timeline might not be popular.

"I know that this unprecedented situation leaves many of your questions open,” he wrote. “I also know that this rational approach may not be in line with the emotions many of you have to go through.”

The IOC’s move seemed inevitable for weeks with pressure mounting from all quarters — athletes, sponsors, broadcasters, more than 200 national Olympic committees, and international sports federations.

Shortly after Bach’s statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it would not send athletes to the Olympics unless the games are postponed by a year. Australia issued a statement saying it was advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe sent a letter to Bach saying that holding the Olympics in July “is neither feasible nor desirable.”

The United States governing bodies of swimming and track — two of the three top-tier Summer Games sports — had called on their national Olympic officials to push for a postponement.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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