Swimmers Concerned About Threat of Canceling Olympics Over Coronavirus

chad-le-clos-coronavirus
Chad Le Clos Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Some of the top swimmers in the world are speaking about the concerns of the coronavirus and its affect on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After all, Olympic athletes train for four years for this stage, and that could be taken away if the coronavirus is still a deadly factor around the world.

More than 80,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus and more than 2,700 killed since the outbreak began in China. Most of the deaths have come in China, but five deaths in Japan have been attributed to the coronavirus as it has spread to other countries around the world.

Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Dick Pound said earlier this week that the Olympics could be canceled if the coronavirus isn’t contained within three months of the games, which are scheduled to begin on July 24.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú, South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström spoke with The Associated Press about it Wednesday.

“Of course, it’s definitely on my mind,” Sjöström told the AP. “We are reminded about it every day. I read the news. It’s a bit scary.”

It is adding a mental strain to the preparation for Olympic athletes and hopefuls.

“I see the news, but in my mind I’m prepared until it’s on. So I have to be ready,” Hosszú told the AP. “I really can’t even imagine having the Olympics canceled. For athletes, it’s a nightmare. That’s our life — preparing for the biggest event in swimming.”

The amount of personal interactions the Olympic brings is an added concern, le Clos said.

“We have to just not shake too many hands, not touch too much stuff,” le Clos told the AP. “It’s a terrible thing that’s happened. Hopefully it can get cured soon and we’re going to proceed to the Olympics.”

The 2016 breakout of the Zika virus in Brazil had similar concerns, though despite infecting thousands, it was not a widespread deadly virus. Organizers, who called a press conference Wednesday to allay cancellation fears, are focused on preparation just as the athletes are.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said. “For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Read the Associated Press story here.

45 comments

  1. Leighanne Kelley

    Zachary Kelley Guy Kelley we were just talking about this

  2. Sara Harbison Mackay

    Timing of the competition so critical to swimmers. More so than other sports.

    • Andrew Webber

      Sara Harbison Mackay nahhh, periodization is well overblown, nowhere near as important as the majority of factors that effect performance. Once every 4 years? Pfft

  3. Ginny Sadowski Jantz

    I’d much rather see the games postponed, other than many prime athletes taken seriously ill. Not worth the risk of bringing so many people together and not knowing who’s a carrier or sick

    • Liz Hudson

      Ginny Sadowski Jantz That is exactly what I said. While it may knock out some who are at the end of their careers it might be the better option.

    • Ginny Sadowski Jantz

      Liz Hudson I wholeheartedly agree. When training that hard, even tapered, there bodies might not proper immunity levels to ward off a strong virus

    • Jeannine Juskalian

      Ginny Sadowski Jantz they cannot postpone it takes years to plan which is why someone from the Olympic committee said they would cancel

    • Colleen Hazlett

      Ginny Sadowski Jantz canceling the games would not be because of the concert for the athletes they stay in the village they have access to great healthcare every team takes their doctors and all their medicines, the athletes are in the prime of health. The concern is about the millions of people coming from all over the world to meet in the same place and often contained in small venues in the exposure that give to those there.

  4. Max Howard

    It sucks, dying would be worse

    • Kimberly Joy

      Max Howard Young healthy people in normal people are not dying from this period it is nothing more than a glorified flu. The ones who are dying are the same ones who die with flu, elderly and compromised immune systems. That’s a tiny percentage of the population. The only reason the mortality rate seems higher is because less people have this virus than the flu. Once it spreads the way flu does, more people get it and that number of deaths will go down. Ultimately the mortality rate is going to be nothing more than the same as flu. This is much ado about nothing

    • Max Howard

      Kimberly Joy, hope you’re right. My friends who are doctors have given a different view. In my life, I haven’t panicked or even been concerned about a single epidemic. I don’t get sick often and usually recover quickly. I think it’s chlorine. But I have followed an ambulance with my then 3 year old daughter when she had swine flu. She recovered, but it was pretty close for a bit. One difference between coronavirus and flus we are used to seems to be that it’s possible to be sick and die without having overt symptoms. There’s a lot we don’t know. Will be happy to be proven silly for bringing it up.

  5. Hector Pagan

    Sighs well idk but hopefully it will be soon

  6. Karin Knudson O

    read the latest story that says they would likely NOT postpone and would be more likely to cancel. That would be a a huge bummer but not dying from this crazy virus is much better.

    • Kimberly Joy

      Karin Knudson O’Connellhealthy people in normal people are not dying from this period it is nothing more than a glorified flu. The ones who are dying are the same ones who die with flu, elderly and compromised immune systems. That’s a tiny percentage of the population. The only reason the mortality rate seems higher is because less people have this virus than the flu. Once it spreads the way flu does, more people get it and that number of deaths will go down. Ultimately the mortality rate is going to be nothing more than the same as flu. This is much ado about nothing

    • Irene Barber Kinsey

      Kimberly Joy wow. That’s kinda harsh? We don’t know the full extent of this virus or how it will mutate. I, for one, would not risk worldwide pandemic for the Games. It is absolutely devastating for the Olympic community. Hoping for a cure so this is a non issues.

  7. Nicole Sturdevant

    Didn’t this happen before?? With a different flu strain… or sickness…

  8. Charlotte Cusachs Bujoreanu

    They wont cancel the Okympics. This appears to all be political at this point. Thousands more people have died from the flu & related illnesses this year.

  9. Neil Earl

    I hope everything will go as planned.The swimmers and all Olympic athletes all have worked hard to reach the world stage.

  10. Nellys Bueno Guerrero

    Mas se han muerto de Malaria, Influenza y otras enfermedades. ¿A quien mata el Covi19? Cada vez que publiquen un muerto. Revisen la edad y si estaba sano antes de contraerlo.

  11. Nick Cittadinni

    I hear Atlanta, Omaha and Indy are beautiful that time of year….

  12. Leslie Cichocki

    Why can’t they move it to Sydney where the 2000 Olympics were? I understand that there’s a big concern of getting the virus but would moving it somewhere there isn’t many cases reported?

    • Christian Anton

      Leslie Cichocki From what I’ve heard it’s less of a concern of the location and more a large number of people coming to a single location for the Olympics. It only takes 1 infected person for the disease to be transmitted to many others and if many were infected and then returned to their home countries before discovering they are infected, it could significantly increase the number of areas and people infected with the virus.

  13. Kimberly Joy

    I would be too, but honestly, I would not be holding the Olympics in any Asian country. It needs to be canceled or held elsewhere

  14. Amie Krueger

    Same thing happened in Rio and many olympics before … it will be okay!!!

  15. Ja Bounce

    Just like RIO I felt the Olympic Committee should also have a secondary host…

    • Miranda Emaus

      Ja Bounce Sadly in this case I don’t think it would matter. If this spreads into a pandemic then you’d have to host it in Antarctica then. But even that probably wouldn’t work.

  16. David Moreno

    Life is more important than sports.

  17. Pamela Wu

    Yes, I hope all the swimmer and athletes will be able to participate! 🙏🙏🤦🏻‍♀️🙏

  18. Noria Gaier

    It is not a question of place it is a question of having so many people and athletes together that might make a new cluster!

  19. Regina Goh

    I hope it will still go on the olympics

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