On or off? Who’s saying what over status of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

PARIS: As the deadly coronavirus spreads around the globe, doubts grow over whether the 2020 Olympic Games, set for Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, will go ahead.

Here’s a look at who’s saying what as the debate becomes even more heated:

“Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organisations or professional leagues in that we are four-and-a-half months away from the Games.”

— International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Friday —

“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritise everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognise the toll this difficult situation has, and continues to take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations. The USATF is respectfully requesting that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) advocate to the IOC for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

— US Track and Field chief Max Siegel, calling for a postponement of the Games on Saturday —

“The board of directors of the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA), on behalf of the majority of Spanish athletes, advocates the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The circumstances do not guarantee an adequate preparation or a fair competition with the rest of the athletes in the world, without endangering the health (of Spanish athletes).”

— Spain’s athletics federation —

“I don’t think we should have the Olympic Games at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety and a decision on the Olympic Games may become very obvious very quickly in the coming days and weeks.”

— World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe —

“Respectfully requested…that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by one year to 2021.”

— USA Swimming chief executive Tim Hinchey —

March 21

“It (a postponement) is not only best from a performance statement for the athletes, but also for what these athletes are going through right now in terms of their mental health.”

— Bob Bowman, the coach who guided swimming great Michael Phelps to 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold —

“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”

— Greece’s Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi —

“I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”

— Hayley Wickenheiser, a Canadian IOC member and a four-time Olympic ice hockey gold medallist —

“We don’t have to make a decision. Our games are not next week, or two weeks from now. They’re four months from now. So we are affording the IOC the opportunity to gather information and expert advice.”

— United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chairwoman Susanne Lyons —

“Starting to feel a little worried about how the Olympic Games are being treated in respect to the athletes. We keep being told the Olympic Games are happening. Starting to realize it’s more important to have the games go on than the athletes be prepared or mentally healthy.”

— US world champion fencer Race Imboden on Twitter —

“It should be postponed under the current situation where athletes are not well prepared.”

— Japanese Olympic Committee executive board member Kaori Yamaguchi, a former Olympic judoka — ‘

“Our clear recommendation is that the Olympic Games in Tokyo shall not take place before the COVID-19 situation is under firm control on a global scale.”

— Norwegian Olympic Committee statement —


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