The International Olympic Committee has faced increasing pressure to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics more than health issues and disruptions brought on by the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.
On Monday night, the United States Olympic Committee published a statement detailing findings from a questionnaire given to the 1,780 athletes that compete beneath the US flag. The results from this survey apparently suggest that a vast majority of athletes have been in favor of a postponement.
“We’re grateful to the 1,780 Team USA athletes to sharing their voice and fair input together as we tackle the issues associated with COVID-19 along with the Tokyo Games, and make good on our promise to place athletes initially,” read the release. “We’re now convinced that we’ve heard a broad array of perspectives and comprehend the diversity of challenges our athletes confront. We regret there is not an outcome that may solve all of the issues 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.”
That statement comes after USA Track and Field and USA Swimming both recommended a 12-month postponement of the Games last week.
Over the weekend, Canada and Australia vowed to pull athletes from the competition if the Games weren’t delayed, turning up the heat on organizers. In addition to the public health concerns over the possible further spread of the virus, the committees have also cited their athletes’ disrupted training and preparation as reasons to delay. The coronavirus has already led to the cancellation of multiple preliminary qualifying events that would normally be pivotal for competing athletes in the lead-up to the Games.
It seems inevitable that an official announcement on the postponement of the 2020 Olympics will soon come, but as of right now the Games are slated to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9.