Professional sports organizations all over the world are canceling or postponing all activities because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is feeling the pressure to decide whether or not to proceed with the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The IOC announced Sunday that it will make a decision within the next four weeks. This comes after weeks of the IOC reiterating that the Summer Olympics would continue as scheduled, despite the coronavirus outbreak. This statement is the first on record of the IOC confirming its thoughts of postponing the events.
“The IOC is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the [national Olympic committees] and [international federations] in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning,” the IOC statement read.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) released a statement Sunday announcing it would not be sending Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020. They cited public health, rather than just athlete health, as the reason.
“This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games.”
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) issued its own statement Monday. They told Australian athletes to “prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021.”
They also encouraged athletes to “prioritize their own health and of those around them.”
The AOC officially announced they will not be attending the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. “The AOC held an Executive Board meeting and unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad,” the statement reads.
Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, has no plans to use her influence to make demands of the IOC.
“My role is not to make demands of those making decisions, but to bring forward solutions,” she said. “We know the difficult obstacles ahead and we are all appreciative that the IOC has heard our concerns and needs, and is working to address them as quickly as possible.
“It’s really important for us to understand the totality of the environment our athletes are facing. It’s a practical reality that there’s no easy answer right now,” Hirshland added.