Japan has admitted the 2020 Olympics could be postponed due to coronavirus if countries cannot send their athletes because “it would not make sense”.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso made the admission as the IOC faces growing pressure to delay the Games.
Aso’s admission comes after International Olympic Committee member Hayley Wickenheiser claimed plans for the Games to go ahead as planned were ”insensitive and irresponsible”.
Japan’s finance minister said: “As the prime minister said, it’s desirable to hold the Olympics in an environment where everyone feels safe and happy. But that’s not something Japan alone can decide.”
Wickenheiser emphasised the pandemic is “bigger than even the Olympics” and highlighted the perspective of the athletes after winning four successive ice hockey golds at the Winter Olympics with Canada.
“This crisis is bigger than even the Olympics,” said Wickenheiser.
“We don’t know what’s happening in the next 24 hours, let alone the next three months.”
“From an athlete perspective, I can only imagine and try to empathise with the anxiety and heartbreak athletes are feeling right now.
“Athletes can’t train, attendees can’t travel plan. Sponsors and marketers can’t market with any degree of sensitivity.
“I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”
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