There’s a growing possibility the Tokyo Olympics won’t begin in late July as scheduled due to the new coronavirus.
The International Olympic Committee now says it will consider the possibility of postponing the Summer Games. The IOC issued a statement saying it will hold four weeks of discussions with global sports officials and Japanese authorities to examine the options. It says the “scenario planning” will include the possibility of changing the July 24 start date for the Games, but that “cancellation is not on the agenda.”
The announcement came after IOC President Thomas Bach led a conference call with executive board members.
The leader of the international track federation has sent a letter to Bach saying holding the Olympics in July “is neither feasible nor desirable” with the coronavirus impacting huge swaths of the globe.
The Canadian Olympic Committee has made the strongest objection yet to an Olympics this summer, announcing it will not send a team to Tokyo unless the games are postponed for a year. Canada is the first country to threaten such a move in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australian Olympic Committee is advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021. Ian Chesterman, Australia’s team leader for Tokyo, says “It’s clear the games can’t be held in July.”
National Olympic committees in Brazil and Slovenia later called for a postponement to 2021. Norway’s Olympic body said it did not want athletes going to Tokyo until the global health crisis is under control.
The United States governing bodies of swimming and track have called on their national Olympic officials to push for a postponement.