Coronavirus: USA urge Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponement as pressure mounts on IOC

The Games look destined to be postponed with the athletes and national organisations demanding safer conditions amid the covid-19 outbreak

Rory Carroll
Tuesday 24 March 2020 08:25
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The Tokyo Olympics is under pressure to be cancelled
The Tokyo Olympics is under pressure to be cancelled

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said on Monday the Tokyo 2020 Olympics should be postponed, in the latest setback to the Games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee said it had surveyed some 4,000 of its athletes over the weekend and 65% of those that responded indicated their training had been severely impacted or halted entirely due to restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus.

Even if the current health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process cannot be overcome in a satisfactory manner, USOPC officials said.

“To that end, it’s more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising,” USOPC board chair Susanne Lyons and CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement.

“We encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors.”

Earlier on Monday longtime International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said the IOC had decided to postpone the Games with an eye toward holding them in 2021.

The USOPC statement comes after Canada and Australia said they would not send athletes to the July 24-Aug. 9 Games due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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