Updated: 23 March 2020; 2:19 pm EST: Dick Pound, a veteran member of the International Olympic Committee told USA Today on Monday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed, likely until 2021.
According to the report, Pound said that the details for the lengthy delay are going to be worked out over the next few weeks If that is the case, it would be a sharp turn from earlier reluctance to postpone the Games even for a few weeks.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told 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.”
Despite Pound’s insistence, however, the IOC appears to still be reticent about any changes, with spokesperson Mark Adams telling the news site that, “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC executive board which was announced yesterday.”
IOC President Thomas Bach has been clear that he has no intention of canceling the Games altogether but did say on Sunday that he would take the next four weeks to decide what would happen in terms of the Games.
If the International Olympic Committee insists on barreling forward with the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, at least two countries will not be represented after refusing to send their athletes due to the risks.
According to CNN, both Canada and Australia issued statements confirming that they will not be sending athletes to the Tokyo Games and have actually called for the Games to be postponed until 2021.
“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement Sunday. “This is not solely about athlete health—it is about public health.”
The Australian Olympic Committee echoed Canada’s sentiments, noting “our athletes now need to prioritize their own health and of those around them and to be able to return to their families.”
Currently, the International Olympic Committee has not canceled the Games, and appears to have no intention of doing so, although it is considering postponing until sometime in July.
The International Olympic Committee’s executive board claimed that canceling the Games outright would “destroy the Olympic dream” of the tens of thousands of athletes who come out to perform, as well as those who support them.
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