IOC Doesn’t Want to Make ‘Any Drastic Decisions’ on Tokyo 2020

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As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and most sports leagues and events have shut down operation for the foreseeable future, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a statement on Tuesday that said it was too early to make “any drastic decisions” in regards to the staging of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“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; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive,” the IOC said in a statement.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board met in Lausanne on Tuesday, and IOC President Thomas Bach is expected to hold a teleconference on Wednesday with the heads of all national federations, according to a report by Reuters. The Olympics are scheduled to begin July 24 and run through August 9, and with the NBA, Euro 2020, NHL and other major sports organizations around the world suspending their seasons, the IOC’s premier gala remains one of the few events still scheduled.

Although the IOC has remained steadfast that the Olympic Games will go on as scheduled, despite more than 180,000 worldwide cases of the Coronavirus, there have been some conflicts concerning that likelihood. Recently, Tokyo 2020 Executive Board member Haruyuki Takahashi expressed his personal feelings that the Games should be postponed until next year, or 2022. However, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded by stating Japan would indeed hold the Olympics on their scheduled dates.

With many qualifying competitions canceled around the world, concerns have arisen that athletes will be on uneven playing fields in their preparation for the Games. The IOC recognized that the Coronavirus has impacted training but encouraged athletes to do “as best they can.” The IOC noted that 57 percent of the athletes who will compete in Tokyo have already qualified for the Games, and that the organization will work with national federations to adapt the qualifying system for Tokyo.

“The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern,” Bach said in the IOC statement. “All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community. We support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”

Extraordinary Events In Swimming History:

Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Japan have all had major meets affected by the coronavirus pandemic, while in the United States, the NCAA Championships have been cancelled and USA Swimming has imposed a 30-day suspension on all events, while Canada is considering what to do about its Olympic trials early next month. In Italy, where swimmers are struggling to maintain normal routines, can’t get to practice and in some cases find pool time, a #stopolympics campaign was launched by the Nuoto website calling on solidarity among swimming nations to recognise that Olympic preparations have been blown off course and that it would be in the interests of fairness to postpone the Games for a time of calm beyond the coronavirus crisis. 

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11 comments

  1. Craig Lord

    Of course, Why would you want to make ‘drastic’ decisions at the infancy of a pandemic Nations are expecting to last months as the sporting landscape turns to desert 🤣 … a little guidance for athletes and coaches might be good though …

    • John Dussliere

      Craig Lord High probability they would like it to be someone else’s decision to postpone/cancel. WHO might just come through for them. This would solve a lot of financial woes. The athletes will be ready no matter when the Games are contested. (The good ones anyway).

    • John Zakala

      You say the good athletes will be ready no matter when the games are contested. Do the athletes who cannot train because their facility is closed and are unable to train and maintain their fitness level are not good. Another post from an armchair athlete who knows nothing about high level athletes!

    • Claire Kennedy

      John Zakala how can people compete on a level playing field? Pools are closing!

  2. Kevin Anderson

    IOC can’t decide, leads to federations who can’t decide, leads to coaches questioning their planning leading to tremendous anxiety for the athletes. Leaders collect all necessary info and make informed decisions in a timely manner. Hopefully decisions come soon so the sporting world can recharge their preparation!

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      Spot on, Kevin

  3. Halim Yussuf

    It is incumbent on the IOC to make the ‘RIGHT’ decision, because if they are wrong, the consequences would be worst than ‘drastic’.

  4. Vee Au

    Protection of economic benefits comes first

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