It seemed like a shock when the NBA abruptly suspended its season and the NCAA Tournament was canceled. Now, with more perspective, stopping sports was the only logical option to in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Nobody has an official timetable on when things will return to normal in the sports world or the real world. The Olympics are four months away, but it’s unclear what the status of the pandemic will be and whether staging the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo are even feasible.
The International Olympics Committee asked athletes to “continue to prepare” for the Olympics, which are scheduled to begin July 24. The IOC also said there is “no need for any drastic decisions” with four months to go, but some organizations are now pushing for a decision to be made. On Sunday, Canada said it would not send its athletes to the Games.
Here are the latest updates on the status of the 2020 Summer Games from officials in the United States and abroad.
Canada vows not to send athletes to Tokyo
The Canadian Olympic Committee on Sunday said that it would not participate in the Olympics if they are held as scheduled this summer.
“(The Games run) counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow,” the committee said.
CP NewsAlert: Canada won’t be at the Tokyo Olympics unless the Games are postponed by a year. The Canadian Olympic Committee says it’s refusing to send a team to Tokyo unless the Games, which are scheduled to start July 24, are pushed back by 12 months.
— Joshua Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) March 23, 2020
USA Swimming asks for Olympics to be delayed to 2021
In a statement from USA Swimming, the organization said holding the Olympics would change the playing field of the athletes who have had their “worlds turned upside down” during this pandemic.
“Our top priority at USA Swimming has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers, and other members,” the statement said. “As this global pandemic has grown, we have watched our athletes’ worlds be turned upside down and watched them struggle to find ways to prepare and train – many for the biggest competitive opportunity of their lives. Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime, anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer.”
USA Swimming respectfully requests that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. pic.twitter.com/q5bhUwi05q
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) March 20, 2020
USA Track and Field pushes for 2020 Olympics to be postponed
USA Track and Field also brought attention to the changes to athletes’ training regimens because of coronavirus.
“This is a critical time for our athletes to train and compete, as they seek to put themselves in the best possible position to represent our country, Team USA and Team USATF. Our goal remains to achieve athletic excellence during the Olympic Games, but not at the expense of the safety and well-being of our athletes.”
USATF said it’s unlikely the athletes can train properly in the appropriate environments during the global pandemic. Another aspect the organization is prioritizing is the mental health of the athletes.
“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety, and appropriately recognize the toll this difficult situation has, and continues to take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations,” the statement said.