PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
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The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee late Monday called for the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after more than 1,700 U.S. athletes responded to a survey and expressed concerns about severe impacts to their ability to train.
Most athletes said they favored postponing the Games over canceling them, according to a statement released by the USPOC.
The statement was issued by United States’ Olympic and Paralympic Committee Chair Susanne Lyons and USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland:
“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,” Lyons and Hirshland said.
The USOC’s statement follows a USA Today report regarding the potential postponement of the Games.
According to the Monday afternoon report, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today that the 2020 Olympics will be postponed. While there is no official announcement being made by the IOC, Pound said the decision to postpone has been made and the details are being worked out.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in a phone interview. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
Pound said he believes the IOC will announce its next steps soon.
“It will come in stages,” he said. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
Contacted by the newspaper for an official IOC response, spokesperson Mark Adams said, “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC executive board which was announced yesterday.”
In that announcement, IOC President Thomas Bach said he was going to take the next four weeks to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin July 24. Bach has ruled out canceling the Games.
Later Monday afternoon, IOC vice president and executive board member Anita DeFrantz commented to the Los Angeles Times that Pound’s comments that the Olympics had been postponed, “might be a bit premature.”
However, what is not in question is the fact that both Canada and Australia have announced that they will not send teams to Tokyo.