On Saturday, USATF became one of several national sporting organizations asking the IOC to postpone this year’s Olympic Games. They wrote, “Unfortunately, while our world class athletes are willing to push themselves to their athletic limits in pursuit of Olympic success, the likelihood that they will be able to train in a safe and adequate environment, and replicate the excellence that we have all come to expect, does not appear likely in the midst of this global crisis.”
— USATF (@usatf) March 21, 2020
The American federation joins many athletes, including American hurdler Lolo Jones and Canadian former hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser in asking the IOC to postpone. With no access to facilities, physical therapy, drug testing or teammates for training, athletes have been left in a less-than-ideal position.
So @TeamCanada wants us to continue training & preparing for the Olympics- cause they keep telling us THEY ARE HAPPENING! but without the support of any IST (massage, physio, chiro)- due to clinic closures- I think we are gonna be seeing a lot of injuries. @AthleticsCanada
— Natasha Wodak (@tasha_wodak) March 19, 2020
After several days of asking the IOC to reconsider their Olympic timeline, there’s finally some movement. A Reuters report from Sunday morning says Olympic organizers are planning a possible postponement, and Inside the Games reported that the IOC and Tokyo 2020 announced they will make a decision on the fate of the Games in four weeks’ time.
Until now, Japan has insisted the Games will go on as scheduled. According to The Globe and Mail, Japan has sunk between $40 and $60 billion dollars into the Games, and in a recent polling of the Japanese public, two-thirds didn’t want the event to go ahead. Japan is left with a difficult choice.
Reuters’ anonymous sources (who claimed they weren’t permitted to speak to the media) said, “Finally, we have been asked to make a simulation in case of a postponement. We are making alternative plans – plan B, C, D – looking at different postponement time-frames.” There are three options at this time: holding the Games without spectators, postponing several months and postponing up to several years.
At this time, the Games are scheduled to go ahead as planned. On Saturday morning, when asked about the growing concern surrounding the Games, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “I have heard directly from Prime Minister Abe that he is intent on continuing to hold these Olympics. I congratulate him for that decision.”