Summer 2020 Olympics Unfair, American Athletes Say in USOPC Poll

Seven out of 10 American athletes surveyed by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee favor postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games, the USOPC revealed Monday.

Surveys were distributed to nearly 4,000 American athletes, of which more than 1,700 responded, as the organization and the world decides how best to respond to the public-health and sporting challenges presented by the novel coronavirus. While numerous athletes have voiced their concerns about participating in the Games in light of the global pandemic, the USOPC survey applies hard data to it.

Among the survey’s “General Sentiments” were:

Over 900 athletes shared additional thoughts regarding decision-making for the Tokyo Games. There were several comments in favor of making a decision soon regarding the fate of the Games, as well as comments indicating that it was too soon to make a decision. Some major themes included athlete perspectives regarding mental health; their ability to continue to compete if the Games are delayed; preferences for staying the course versus postponement; opinions on how long of a postponement is feasible; the idea that the United States has a commitment to be socially responsible world leaders, and some heartfelt appreciation for the USOPC seeking to understand their perspectives through the survey.

Nearly 65 percent of athletes responded that their training “has been severely impacted or they can’t train at all,” with about a quarter of respondents unable to train. Local regulations were cited by 87 percent of athletes as affecting their training.

While 70 percent of athletes answered that they would feel comfortable at the Games if the World Health Organization signed off on its safety, 68 percent said they “did not think the Games could be fairly competed if continued as scheduled.” However, 93 percent of athletes preferred postponing the games to cancellation.

The USOPC released a statement with the results:

“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. 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. We look forward to their feedback and direction, and stand ready to work in support of Team USA and in full cooperation with the global community.”

Extraordinary Events In Swimming History:

The chronology of cancellation:

Guidance on Water and Coronavirus 

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2 comments

  1. James Ash

    I hope this means the trials will be delayed a year too.

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