USOPC: Postponing 2020 Tokyo Olympics Is 'Most Promising' Path Due to COVID-19

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2020

A woman pauses for photos next to the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Monday, March 23, 2020. The IOC will take up to four weeks to consider postponing the Tokyo Olympics amid mounting criticism of its handling of the coronavirus crisis that now includes a call for delay from the leader of track and field, the biggest sport at the games. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee has recommended postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in a statement from Chair Susanne Lyons and CEO Sarah Hirshland following a survey of Olympic hopefuls:

"Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can't be overcome in a satisfactory manner. To that end, it's more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising, and we encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors."

The survey featured responses from 1,780 Olympic athletes and nearly 65 percent said they have been unable to train or their training has at least been severely impacted as a result of the coronavirus.

Only 6 percent of athletes said they saw no change to their training.

This was enough for 68 percent to claim it wouldn't be fair if the Summer Olympics continued on as scheduled.

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Though not all were concerned about their personal safety during the global pandemic, the challenges over the next few months would clearly create problems in preparing for the Games.

The Olympics are currently scheduled to run from July 24 to August 9, but the International Olympic Committee said it will wait until mid-April to decide whether to postpone, according to Devin Heroux of CBC Sports.

No official statement has yet been made about changes, but veteran IOC member Dick Pound said the event will be postponed.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told Christine Brennan of USA Today. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

Several American organizations have called for the event to be delayed, including the head of USA Swimming and the head of USA Track & Field.

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