Olympic Committee Member Calls For Postponement of 2020 Olympics
The Olympic flame has already settled down in Japan, but it is unsure if it will actually make it to the actual Olympics.
A member of the Japanese Olympic Committee told Nikkei that the Summer Games, set to take place from July 24 to August 9, should be postponed. Former judo star Kaori Yamaguchi, who won bronze at the 1988 games in Seoul, stated she fears for the safety of all athletes involved. This comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The IOC is putting athletes at risk,” Yamaguchi stated. “As far as I can tell from news reports coming out of the U.S. and Europe, I don’t think the situation allows for athletes to continue training as usual. By asking them to train under these conditions, the IOC is opening itself up the criticism that it is not putting athletes first.”
Yamaguchi plans on stating her case to the JOC next week. There may be just reason for the delay, as several sports related to the Olympics have already been impacted by the coronavirus. The Israeli judo team cancelled their training camp in Japan, while the IOC Boxing Task Force had to suspend all boxing qualifiers as they were happening. The International Judo Federation also suspended all events, while the Karate 1-Premier League events in Rabat, Morocco and Madrid were cancelled.
Yamaguchi doesn’t want an event that may be compromised in a time people need hope the most.
“Unlike other sporting events, the Olympics symbolize the ideal that sports bring about world peace,” Yamaguchi continued. “We should not hold [the Olympics] if people across the world can’t enjoy themselves.”
There have been concerns about moving or delaying the Olympics by various members of the IOC. The revenue that comes from the event, as well as the planning, is otherworldly. IOC member Dick Pound stated a while back how difficult it would be to make a decision right away on the Olympics. As of this moment, the plan is for the Olympics to go on as planned.
“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound stated. “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”
Pound’s statement came during a time when there were 80,000 cases of the coronavirus with over 2,700 deaths. Now, according to CNN, there are over 193,475 cases, with over 7,864 deaths. John Coates, chairman of the Tokyo Olympics coordination commission, stated there is no direct deadline for the idea of postponement, as it hasn’t even been brought up. While the event is a few months away, a lot can happen during that time. Rules are already in place of venues not allowing a certain number of people, per the CDC.
With reports the coronavirus pandemic can go on from a few months to a year, a meeting may need to happen sooner rather than later.
“Even if there is a reason that prevents the IOC from making a decision right now, [the IOC] should indicate a deadline,” Yamaguchi said. “A sudden announcement, like the decision to move the marathon and footraces to Sapporo, is not acceptable.”
Do you think the Olympics should be moved to another time?