Skip to Content

Olympic teams and athletes want the 2020 games postponed

Andrew Cuomo

Olympic teams and athletes have said that they want the 2020 Olympics to be postponed in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed thousands of people across the world.

USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, and USA Track and Field all issued statements saying the teams want to postpone the 2020 games and a majority of Olympic athletes who responded to a survey agree.

The 2020 Olympic games are scheduled to kick off July 24 in Tokyo.

But due to the international health crisis, many athletes who responded to a survey sent by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said they can’t safely train and would support a postponement of the event.

The survey was sent to approximately 4,000 US athlete hopefuls for the Olympic and Paralympic games. More than 1,700 athletes responded, the USOPC said in a statement Monday.

Athletes prefer postponement over cancellation

Nearly 65% of athletes reported their training was severely impacted or they couldn’t train at all, the statement said. 25% said they could not train at all.

93% of athletes who responded to the survey said they would prefer to postpone the games over canceling them while 7% said they would rather the games be canceled and compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, according to the statement.

Sarah Hirshland, USOPC CEO, and Susanne Lyonsm USOPC Chair, said in a statement that the survey results show the “path toward postponement is the most promising” and encouraged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors.”

“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,” the USOPC statement said.

Teams want the games postponed

The gymnastics and swimming teams echoed those sentiments and said the games should be postponed.

In a tweet from USA Gymnastics Monday, the call to action states, “After considering the responses from athletes who participated in our survey & the 62% who were in favor of delaying the Games, we are adding our voice to the chorus advocating for postponement. We are grateful to have our athletes’ insight and input to guide this decision.”

On Saturday, USA Track and Field Chief executive Max Siegel said in a letter to the USOPC that progressing with the current schedule would not be “in the best interest of our athletes.”

“USATF’s top priority has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff and volunteer leaders,” he wrote in a letter addressed to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland.

In a letter obtained by CNN Friday, CEO of USA Swimming Tim Hinchey III asked the USOPC to advocate for postponing the games until 2021.

“Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime and anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer,” the letter read. “The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations.”

“There are no perfect answers, and this will not be easy; however, it is a solution that provides a concrete path forward and allows all athletes to prepare for a safe and successful Olympic Games in 2021,” Hinchey said.

Postponement a ‘realistic option’

Organizers have already said postponement would be a “realistic option.”

Tokyo’s Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori conceded that although the preference is to host the spectacle as normal in July, organizers would work alongside the IOC to explore alternatives amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“Postponement isn’t our first course of action but we cannot not consider it as a realistic option either,” Mori said during a news conference Monday, ruling out the idea of canceling the event entirely.

Both Australia and Canada have already said they will not send their athletes to Japan to compete this year.

The IOC Board has said they will consider postponing but will not cancel the games as it would “destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes” and all those who support them, according to a letter to athletes from IOC President Thomas Bach.

Dick Pound, the longest-serving IOC member who does not serve on the board, said he believed the board would decide to postpone the games.

“I see no other rational interpretation of the statements made by the IOC yesterday,” Pound said. “If there was to be a cancellation, that would have been easy to announce; if carrying on with the original plan, there was no need for a communication. That leaves postponement.”

Article Topic Follows: US & World

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content