GENEVA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Tuesday that the Olympic flame can become "the light at the end of this dark tunnel" in which the world finds itself at present after he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to postpone this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games.
The decision came after a telephone call between Bach and Abe earlier of the day, as the Games, initially scheduled from July 24 to August 9 will now take place "not later than summer 2021".
"We both expressed the hope that in the end, next year, these Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a celebration of humanity, for having overcome this unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic," Bach said during a media teleconference on Tuesday.
It is the first time that the modern Olympic Games being postponed since the birth in 1896, although they have been canceled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to World War I and World War II.
But the IOC chief also said that the timeframe of the Games was not decided yet as it will be up to the Coordination Commission and Organizing Committee.
"The Olympic Games are maybe the most complex event on this planet." Bach said, "There are a lot of pieces in this huge and very difficult jigsaw puzzle."
"Bringing 11,000 athletes together from 206 National Olympic Committees plus the IOC Refugee Olympic Team; having the Organizing Committee on board; the supporters, the sponsors, the broadcasters; being aligned with the International Federations, the National Olympic Committees. I'm just naming a few of the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.
"This takes some time and the Coordination Commission has already started the work," Bach added.
As many reports are concerning the postponement will cause some additional costs to hold the Games, the 66-year-old Bach said it was "about protecting human life and financial considerations cannot take priority."