Seb Coe Says All Qualified Olympic Athletes Will Keep Spots Despite Postponement

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 27, 2020

President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe gives a speech to award the world record holders during the IAAF World Athletics Awards ceremony, on November 23, 2019, in Monaco. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Athletes who have already qualified for the Summer Olympics, which have been postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will not have to re-qualify for the Games a second time. 

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), World Athletics president Sebastian Coe confirmed the news but also noted that that a fair process to fill the remaining Olympic field spots must be decided upon.

Around "6,200 or so athletes" have already qualified, per the AP. Some sports (e.g. marathon, open-water swimming) have already finished their qualification processes, while others (e.g. track) have not yet.

As sports organizations around the globe canceled or postponed events, the International Olympic Committee held firm in its stance to keep the Games as scheduled from July 24 through August 9.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage. Any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.

"The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can."

However, the pressure slowly mounted to postpone the Games. The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee said March 22 that it would not send athletes to the Games if they were not postponed.

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One day later, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement the next day expressing their desire to see the Games pushed.

On the same day, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today's Christine Brennan he expected the Olympics would not go on as scheduled.

The IOC eventually made the postponement call on March 24, noting the Games would be held no later than the summer of 2021. 

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