Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty

Nearly 6,500 athletes who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will keep their spots when the event takes place in 2021, according to new qualification rules announced by the International Olympic Committee Tuesday.

The big picture: The revision was made to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, replacing a previous version of the regulations from July 2017. The new qualifying deadline is June 29, 2021, and entry lists are due one week later.

  • 57% of the total athlete spots have already been assigned, with approximately 5,000 athlete quota places remaining, per the IOC.
  • It is possible for international federations to extend the age eligibility requirements, if they exist, and allow athletes eligible in 2020 to remain so and compete at next year's Games.
  • Respective sports federations around the world are still deciding their own qualifying procedures.

What they're saying:

"Athlete health is the guiding principle in the scheduling of any remaining Olympic qualification events. With the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 until 2021, the IOC has urged that any such events be confirmed only once the COVID-19 impacts can be assessed, allowing fair access and appropriate preparation for all competing athletes and teams."
— International Olympic Committee

What's next: The rescheduled Olympics are slated to take place July 23 through Aug. 8 next year.

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Caster Semenya loses appeal against testosterone rule limiting Olympic competition

Caster Semenya competes in the women's 200m final during the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in March 2020. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her appeal against the governing body of track and field's rule requiring female runners to lower their naturally high testosterone levels with medication, AP reports.

Why it matters: Semenya will not be able to attend the Tokyo Games next year to defend her 800-meter Olympic title nor any major meets in distances from 400 to 1,500 meters unless she lowers her testosterone level through surgery or medication, which she has said she won't do.

Go deeper: Caster Semenya says "hell no" to testosterone-lowering drugs

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Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

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The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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