While the concerns about COVID-19 continue to grow and the long-term consequences of the disease remain uncertain, the International Olympic Committee has said it will make a decision regarding this summer’s Olympic Games within the next four weeks. The Tokyo 2020 Games were originally slated to begin with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 24.
The IOC could decide to push that date back a few weeks or even months, but the Committee has said they will not be canceling the Summer Games altogether.
Here’s a piece of the IOC’s statement (full statement available here):
“The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement… The IOC [executive board] emphasized that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda.”
This news comes after other organizations have made public calls to postpone the Games, including these statements by USA Swimming and USA Track & Field.
USA Swimming respectfully requests that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. pic.twitter.com/q5bhUwi05q
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) March 20, 2020
— USATF (@usatf) March 21, 2020
“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote. “The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus.”
Several former and current Wildcats were set to participate in the Summer Olympics, including Mary Tucker (rifle), Will Shaner (rifle). Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo had been named to the USA Basketball team’s finalist list, and former UK track star Sydney McLaughlin was also expected to compete.
Even if the virus is contained and normal life has resumed by mid-July, athletes across the globe have had their training impacted (limited, rather) by the Coronavirus. Postponing the Summer Olympic Games is beginning to feel inevitable. If the IOC follows its own timetable, we’ll know for sure within the next four weeks.