USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland Says She Will Not Demand 2020 Olympics Be Postponed

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2020

Snow falls on the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, told the Associated Press Sunday that she is not pushing the International Olympic Committee toward a postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games at this time.

"My role is not to make demands of those making decisions, but to bring forward solutions," she said.

"We're hearing from the athletes loud and clear, and I can guarantee you, the IOC is going to hear from us, loud and clear," she added.

Her comments come in the wake of both the USA Swimming and Track & Field committees publicly requesting the USOPC to advocate for a postponement of the Summer Games:

Hirshland said she understood the stance of the Swimming and Track & Field teams:

"Both sports have a very large population, from grassroots to elite athletes, and they need their athletes to know they're being heard," she said. "They want their athletes to know their concerns are being passed on, and I can confirm those concerns are being passed on."

But there is growing momentum for postponement. On Sunday, the Canadian Olympic Committees said its athletes would not participate in the Tokyo Olympics if they were held this summer, while Australia said it was preparing its athletes for a postponed 2021 Games:

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IOC President Thomas Bach said Sunday in a letter addressed to Olympic athletes that the governing body is "working hard" and is "confident that we will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks."

Also on Sunday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said postponing the Summer Games was a possibility, though canceling them outright was off the table.

But Hirshland isn't ready to commit to the idea of postponement, or advocate for it, at this time.

"It's really important for us to understand the totality of the environment our athletes are facing," she said. "It's a practical reality that there's no easy answer right now."

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