IOC says Olympics postponement an option, cancellation ‘not on agenda’
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that postponing the 2020 Olympics is one of its options as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, but that cancellation of the Tokyo showpiece was “not on the agenda”.
The IOC has faced strong pressure to push back the Games, scheduled from July 24 to August 9, from sporting federations and athletes worried about the health risk as the COVID-19 global death tally went past 13,000 on Sunday.
IOC president Thomas Bach said a decision on when the Games take place would be made “within the next four weeks”.
“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games,” Bach wrote in an open letter to athletes.
“We have, as indicated before, been thinking in different scenarios and are adapting them almost day by day.
“A final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature,” he said.
Bach explained that the IOC was discussing its options with health authorities and stakeholders.
“We are confident that we will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.”
He made clear that there would a Games in Tokyo at some point.
“Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody,” Bach said. “Therefore it is not on our agenda.”
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The idea of holding the Games on schedule has drawn a swelling chorus of objections.
On Sunday, nine-time Olympic track and field champion Carl Lewis, as well as the head of French athletics added their voices to the US and French swimming federations, the US and Spanish athletics federations, the Norwegian Olympic Committee and past and current athletes.
Sprinter and long jumper Lewis, who won gold at four different Olympics, told Houston television station KRIV that he backed calls for postponement.
“I just think it’s really difficult for an athlete to prepare, to train, to keep their motivation if there’s complete uncertainty. That’s the hardest thing,” he said…….read more