IOC's Dick Pound: 'Very Slim' Chance Beijing Olympics Will Be Postponed or Canceled

Doric SamJanuary 4, 2022

Former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound speaks at a Tackling Doping in Sport 2016 conference in London on March 9, 2016.
Russia is "changing deckchairs on the Titanic" rather than working to overturn an international ban on its athletes, ex-World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound told AFP on Wednesday. Russian athletes were banned from competing internationally last year after an independent commission chaired by Pound found evidence of state-sponsored doping in the country.

 / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS        (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Longtime International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound addressed the possibility of canceling or postponing the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pound told USA Today's Christine Brennan on Monday that the chances of the Games not being played as scheduled are "very slim."

Pound was also asked about potentially postponing the Winter Olympics instead of canceling them, similar to the Tokyo Olympics that were moved from summer 2020 to 2021. Pound said he believes that things are too far along to postpone the Games and it will take a real turn of events for that to happen.

"I don't think these things are postponable," he said. "In almost every respect the arrow has left the bow. They're going to start Feb. 4 and it would take a real upset of some sort to change that."

Pound noted that there will be public uncertainty about the Winter Olympics. But as far as he's concerned, everything is moving forward as planned.

"I think there will be uncertainty surrounding the Games in the public, as far as the ship sailing," he said, "but right now, the lines are cast off and the boat is leaving the dock, unless Armageddon happens and public health authorities say we lock down every country. At that point, it changes the entire paradigm."

Pound admitted that the continuous spread of the omicron variant is reason for concern, so he understands national Olympic leaders wondering about the possibility of canceling or postponing the Games.

"It's a cloud out there and you have to be alert to that possibility with a variant that is so easily transmissible," he said.

"There certainly are going to be athletes out there competing and cases will crop up. The question is, how many will it be, and does it amount to a tsunami that says it is no longer feasible to hold these Olympic Games?"

Though Pound expects the Olympics to be held as scheduled, the pandemic will have a major impact on at least one competition in Beijing. The NHL announced that it will not be sending players to compete in the men's hockey tournament.