IOC Responds To Athletes’ Questions Over Tokyo 2020 And Admits: ‘No Solution Will Be Ideal’

Photo Courtesy: Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The International Olympic Committee has said “no solution will be ideal” as they responded to criticism from athletes who questioned how they could say with such certainty that Tokyo 2020 will go ahead in July as planned.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the British heptathlete who won gold at last year’s World Championships in Qatar, posted on social media, detailing her lack of access to any kind of training, physio and gym given she is based in France which is on lockdown.

Katerina Stefanidi, who won gold in the pole vault at Rio 2016, has also accused the IOC of putting athletes in danger while IOC member Hayley Wickenheiser has described the governing body’s constant assertion that the Games will take place in July as “insensitive and irresponsible”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) responded, stating:

“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions.

“The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.

“No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes.”


Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The vast majority of Olympic qualification competitions in the pool have been postponed or cancelled and the IOCs’ insistence that Tokyo 2020 will go ahead is looking increasingly untenable.

Their statement on Wednesday is the first indication that they may be considering alternative measures.

Johnson-Thompson Lays Bare Her Situation

The British athlete shared the details of her access to training facilities and questioned the apparent conflicting advice coming from the IOC and governments, some of whom have ordered lockdowns.

She said:

“The IOC advice ‘encourages athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympics Games as best as they can’ with the Olympics only four months away but the government legislation is enforcing isolation at home, with tracks, gyms and public spaces closed.

“I feel under pressure to train and keep the same routine, which is impossible.

“I’m in a very fortunate place given the circumstances. I’m healthy, well supported and I have already qualified for the Olympics. But at this moment it’s difficult to approach the season when everything has changed in the lead up apart from the ultimate deadline.”

Stefanidi added: “This is not about how things will be in four months. This is about how things are now.

“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in four months.”

Wickenheiser said the IOC’s insistence to “move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”

As of Wednesday, swimmers have not aired any criticism, instead focusing on resetting their goals following the mass cancellation of Olympic trials and preparing for the Games, when they may be held.

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Linda Hyslop
Linda Hyslop
4 years ago

In Canada all pools have been closed. How can our swimmers train? If the Olympics go ahead it will not be a level field. They need to be postponed.

Chris Guesdon
Chris Guesdon
4 years ago

The IOC think that nothing else matters but their organisation. They need to think again they are not the centre of the Universe

Chris Dahowski
4 years ago

Push 2021. No options. The IOC is treading on liability asking these athletes to push on when the world is stopped

All of these athletes are seeking the edge for gold. Putting their health and others health at risk.

Michelle Annette
4 years ago

Cancel till next year no brainer here?‍♀️

Ali AL-Nawaiseh
Ali AL-Nawaiseh
4 years ago

Athlete Health and Wellbeing cant be achieved with expedited preparation for such huge events. indeed qualifying events are becoming so intense and needs should be accounted for in the preparation phase. 2021 is a Great Choice that gives enough time for all aspects.

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