Coronavirus: USA Olympic Committee says postponement is ‘most promising’ outcome for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee has faced increasing pressure to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over health concerns and disruptions caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak. On Monday afternoon, it was reported that IOC senior member Dick Pound said the Games were heading for postponement. 

On Monday night, the United States Olympic Committee released a statement detailing findings from a survey given to the 1,780  athletes that compete under the US flag. The results from that survey seemingly suggest that a majority of athletes are in favor of a postponement.

“We are thankful to the 1,780 Team USA athletes for sharing their voice and honest input with us as we address the issues related to COVID-19 and the Tokyo Games, and make good on our promise to put athletes first,” read the release. “We are now confident that we have heard a wide range of viewpoints and understand the diversity of challenges our athletes face. We regret that there is no outcome that can solve all the concerns we face. 

“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.”

That statement comes after USA Track and Field and USA Swimming both recommended a 12-month postponement of the Games last week.

Over the weekend, Canada and Australia vowed to pull athletes from the competition if the Games weren’t delayed, turning up the heat on organizers. In addition to the public health concerns over the possible further spread of the virus, the committees have also cited their athletes’ disrupted training and preparation as reasons to delay. The coronavirus has already led to the cancellation of multiple preliminary qualifying events that would normally be pivotal for competing athletes in the lead-up to the Games. 

It seems inevitable that an official announcement on the postponement of the 2020 Olympics will soon come, but as of right now the Games are slated to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9.

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