The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given itself four weeks to decide whether or not to postpone this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The IOC’s Executive Board met yesterday and decided to see how far the coronavirus spreads before making a final decision.
The cancellation of the Games altogether has been ruled out. With athletes, teams and federations calling for a delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, the IOC says contingency planning for a postponement is underway.
A statement yesterday read: “To safeguard the health of all involved and to contribute to the containment of COVID-19, the IOC will step up its scenario-planning for the Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020.
“These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games. “This step will allow better visibility of the rapidly changing development of the health situation around the world and in Japan. “
IOC president Thomas Bach has written a letter to potential Olympic athletes, admitting that a postponement is under consideration but stating that an immediate decision would be premature.
Bach wrote: “We are in a dilemma. “Cancellation of the Olympic Games would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, most likely for the Paralympic athletes, and for all the people who are supporting you as coaches, doctors, officials, training partners, friends and family.
“Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody. Therefore it is not on our agenda. “A decision about a postponement today could not determine a new date for the Olympic Games because of the uncertain developments in both directions: an improvement, as we are seeing in a number of countries thanks to the severe measures being taken, or a deteriorating situation in other countries.
“Together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement. “We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.
“I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope of so many athletes, (National Olympic Committees) NOCs and (International Federations) IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel.”