The International Olympic Committee announced today that, due to growing concern over the effects and spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed. The decision came just days after Canada and Australia announced they would be pulling out of the event if it were to still go on as scheduled.
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Speaking to USA Today, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Richard “Dick” Pound said that postponement was the correct decision considering the information presented to the International Olympic Committee.
“The parameters going forward have not been determined,” he said. “But the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Although Australia and Canada were the latest nations to pull out of the 2020 games, tensions were already mounting in the United States over whether or not athletes would attend. On Friday, the USA Swimming team called for a one-year delay of the Olympics, followed by a similar statement from the USA Track & Field team. Even the athletes themselves were hoping for a new Olympic date; in a survey of 125 Team USA athletes, nearly three-quarters supported an Olympic postponement. Regardless of uncertainty, the U.S. Olympic Committee was hesitant to make any solid moves in pulling out of the Olympic games.
A new date has not been decided upon for the postponed Olympics, but many are calling for a push of at least a year. There’s no real sense of what the repercussions would be of pushing the game — for the International Olympic Committee, for athletes, and for Tokyo — but Pound said it would be “immense.”
“It will come in stages,” Pound told USA Today. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”