The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will "come together" this July, but it will not be in Tokyo as originally planned.
Instead the IOC Session will be held "virtually" and be conducted on "a secure online system".
The Executive Board, which also met using online platforms, made the decision in order to "respect the measures being implemented to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic."
IOC President Thomas Bach announced the plan online.
"A first ever as you can imagine, this Session will be livestreamed so that everybody who is interested can join in," he said.
In some ways though, it will be a throwback to earlier days of the Olympic Movement.
For IOC pioneers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, practical difficulties with international travel often made it difficult for them to attend meetings in person and much was done by correspondence. This sometimes extended to the choice of Olympic host cities.
French nobleman Baron Pierre de Coubertin had been the driving force behind the establishment of the Movement. Amongst his first circulars was a letter giving information about a meeting planned at the Sorbonne in June 1894.
"It is vital that athletics retain the noble and chivalrous quality which distinguished it in the past", he wrote, as he mentioned the qualities demanded of the "Olympian athlete".
At this meeting, a resolution was made to revive the Olympic Games which had been held in Greece in the days of antiquity. To administer the project, an organisation which became known as the IOC was established.
The documents for the first meeting list a number of distinguished names but few of them attended in person. This suited de Coubertin perfectly.
"I was allowed a free hand in the choice of members for the IOC. Nobody seemed to have noticed that I had chosen almost exclusively absentee members."
He admitted later that he wanted "elbow room from the start".
In those days, de Coubertin ran the IOC from the family home in Paris.
He produced further circulars for members, informing them of the activities of the committee and an official "Olympic Review" was launched.
At this stage, the IOC was still a predominantly European organisation but in 1909, the Japanese educator Jigoro Kano was invited to join the committee. He was the first from an Asian country.
Yet he did not meet Baron Pierre de Coubertin and his other IOC colleagues face to face until the 1912 Session before the Olympics in Stockholm. When Kano and the Japanese Olympic team travelled to Sweden, their journey took over two weeks.
It was perhaps unsurprising that his attendance at subsequent sessions was also sporadic and he was not alone. Even in peacetime, travel was still difficult. In wartime it became all but impossible.
In 1915, de Coubertin enlisted in the French military. He believed it was wrong for a soldier to lead the IOC, so he asked his friend and fellow member Baron Godefroy de Blonay from Switzerland to take over as an interim leader.
De Blonay was soon preparing circulars to members with de Coubertin still offering his own suggestions.
The 1916 Berlin Olympics did not take place because of the war.
"The year has passed without the Games taking place in the country where they were assigned but the IOC office notes that although they may not be celebrated, they cannot be moved," said the IOC circular.
This established the concept that although Games had not taken place, the VI Olympiad would nonetheless be enshrined in the records.
Those eventually held in 1920 were designated as the Games of the VII Olympiad.
De Blonay also asked for de Coubertin’s tenure as IOC President to be extended for another ten years. This decision was to be confirmed with a postal vote.
It also advised members that the Olympic Cup for the year of 1917 was to be awarded to the Dutch Football Association, which had "demonstrated a strong commitment to the cause of physical education in its country".
When the war finally ended, de Coubertin resumed the leadership and immediately sent further communications.
The 1920 Olympics did take place in Antwerp, but when the IOC gathered for their 1921 Session in Lausanne, it was noticeable how few non-Europeans were present.
The exceptions were Angelo Bolanaki from Egypt, newly co-opted Canadian James Merrick, Raul do Rio Branco from Brazil and Pedro de Jaime Matheu from Central America.
It was a similar story throughout the 1920s.
The minutes often recorded that significant business was conducted as a result of letters.
In 1931, the IOC met in Barcelona and the list of absentees greatly outnumbered those who were actually present.
The meeting was to have decided the destiny of the 1936 Olympics.
The list of candidates had dwindled. Rome and Budapest both pulled out of the race which left Barcelona and Berlin to contest the nomination.
The official minutes recorded that "owing to the very small number present at the 1931 Session and in order to take into account the number of written votes already received, the committee decided to wait until the answers of the many absent members reached Lausanne."
The votes of those present in Barcelona were "sealed and deposited" at the IOC headquarters.
Other members were asked to vote by telegram "in order to expedite the decision."
Berlin beat Barcelona by 43 votes to 16 with eight abstentions.
Throughout the decade, attendances at IOC Sessions remained low.
A postal ballot confirmed an extension of office for IOC President Comte Henri Baillet-Latour.
In 1935, the Session in Oslo was to have been the setting for the election of the host city for 1940. Once again there was a small attendance so voting was deferred to the following year in Berlin when Tokyo was elected.
When the Second World War came in 1939, full sessions were an impossibility.
By this time, German official Carl Diem had become editor of the Olympic Review or "Olympische Rundschau".
Germany soon occupied much of mainland Europe including the Belgian homeland of President Baillet Latour.
Baillet-Latour died in early 1942 and vice-president Sigfrid Edstrom of Sweden took over.
Otto Mayer, the IOC Chancellor recorded how Edstrom "took over the leadership of the movement and attempted to maintain contact and friendship among the members of the IOC in spite of the hostilities of this cruellest of wars."
Even so, Edstrom was unable to attend the IOC’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 1944. Bulgaria’s Stepan Sapraschikov and Karl Ritter Von Halt of Germany were the only IOC members present.
"The military and political situation remained very critical and was the reason that only a few officials arrived in Lausanne," noted Diem’s journal.
In August 1945, little more than a week after the final surrender of Japan brought the war to an end, the IOC Executive Committee met in London.
Acting IOC President Edstrom was joined by the British peer Lord Aberdare and Avery Brundage from the United States.
Edstrom was anxious to appoint another vice-president and proposed Brundage. The election was "a vote by correspondence".
They "decided that the Olympic Games of 1948 should be celebrated".
Interest came from Lausanne, London and the American cities of Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
Lake Placid and St Moritz had indicated a willingness to host the winter Games.
As a full IOC Session was impractical before 1946, the Executive Committee (EC) decided "the place for the celebration of the 1948 Games will be chosen by a vote by correspondence".
A voting form was sent to all the members but with the strong recommendation that London should stage the Games of the Olympiad and St Moritz be elected as winter hosts. In appearance, this was very similar to the permission slips circulated before a school outing.
The EC also recommended letters be sent to National Olympic Committees "suggesting that they resume their activities, stimulate public interest in the Olympic Movement and stress the principles of true amateurism" followed by another to start a recruitment drive for new IOC members.
They also advised "political influence in the Movement should be avoided".
St Moritz and London duly held Olympic celebrations in 1948 and the Movement was back on track.
In 1952 Brundage assumed the IOC Presidency. His was an era when members were still considered "volunteers" who had to find their own way to the meetings.
Later, as expenses were paid, and air travel became much easier, the sessions became more representative. In contrast to the early days, IOC membership now tops the hundred mark.
The "virtual" session will be part of a re-evaluation of world sport after the coronavirus pandemic.
The IOC EB will also meet online with one meeting planned for July 22 to follow the Session.
The debate on Olympism and the coronavirus will be driven forward throughout the year.
By a twist of fate, the virtual Session is scheduled for July 17, the birthday of long serving President Juan Antonio Samaranch, elected exactly forty years ago.
Many consider him most responsible for the radical modernisation of the Olympic Movement. Now it seems the Movement is set for more change.