U.S. Olympic Committee Responds to IOC's April Deadline: 'Every Day Counts'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMarch 22, 2020

A man wearing a mask passes the logo of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games displayed on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building on March 19, 2020. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave itself four weeks to decide whether to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic, the CBC relayed earlier Sunday:

The U.S. Olympic Committee responded to the news Sunday evening. "Every day counts," the statement reads, in part. "We remain steadfast in our recommendation that Team USA athletes continue to heed the advice of public health officials and prioritize their health and wellness over all else."

According to USA Today, nearly 75 percent of 125 U.S. Olympic athletes "who participated in a town hall with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee support the postponement."

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced Sunday night that they will not send athletes:

The 2020 Summer Games are scheduled to begin on July 24 and run through Aug. 9 in Tokyo.

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Japanese Olympic Committee member Kaori Yamaguchi spoke out Thursday against the event going on as scheduled.

"As far as I can tell from news reports coming out of the U.S. and Europe, I don't think the situation allows for athletes to continue training as usual," Yamaguchi, a retired judo athlete, told Nikkei Asian Review. "We should not hold [the Olympics] if people across the world can't enjoy themselves."

Yamaguchi pushed for the IOC to implement a self-imposed deadline to make a final decision.

Sports worldwide have been halted as the coronavirus continues to spread globally. The Olympics were directly affected when the traditional flame-lighting ceremony was closed to the public in Olympia, Greece:

However, according to CNA, more than 50,000 people gathered to watch the Olympic flame in Japan on Saturday.

The World Health Organization's latest numbers show 294,110 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide with 1,046 in Japan. There have been 12,944 coronavirus-related deaths.