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The International Olympic Committee assured sponsors and athletes in a letter on Sunday that while the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be postponed, they will not discuss cancellation at this time.
IOC President Thomas Bach, facing intense pressure as countries and representative bodies of athletes push for a postponement, released a lengthy letter asking for understanding and calm as the group considers the best method for moving forward with the games over the next four weeks.
Bach’s declaration comes directly after receiving a letter from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. The head of World Athletics urged Bach to consider a postponement that did not consider the summer months as the heat and lack of training facilities for athletes could cause injuries and the potential for further spread of the deadly virus.
Bach’s letter joined a growing chorus to delay the Summer Olympics including a couple of nations and USA Track & Field who asked U.S. Olympic leadership to pressure the IOC to postpone the Tokyo games in a statement over the weekend.
“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 properly train in a safe and adequate environment, and replicate the excellence we have all come to expect, does not appear likely in the midst of this global crisis,” USATF’s statement read.
“As we have learned, our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness is among our highest priorities.”
Late on Sunday, Canada and Australia’s Olympic committees both suggested that without a postponement they would pull their athletes from the 2020 games.
The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee both announced a refusal to send athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics unless there is a one year delay.
The Australia Olympic Committee followed suit by telling athletes to prepare for a 2021 games as it best suits their long-term health and the safety of those around them during the coronavirus pandemic.
The response of the two Olympic Committees could mark the beginning of most nations calling in unison for a postponement of the Tokyo games since the IOC has said they plan to wait four weeks to make their final decision.
United States track and field Olympic hero Carl Lewis is calling on the IOC to move the 2020 games to 2022 to align with the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In a phone conversation with Reuters, Lewis called for the amateur games to be moved to 2022 to allow athletes to focus on 2021 World Championships and allow for the coronavirus pandemic to be solved.
The move to 2022 would allow for the two Olympic games to align as they did until 1992. The following Winter Olympics took place two years later in 1994 with the summer games moving to 1996. Since that change, the world has seen an Olympic games every two years.
Lewis also shared a concern that the global economy would be in a depression that would certainly affect sponsorships and the ability for hundreds of millions of individuals to enjoy the sporting event.
“There are millions and millions of people getting laid off and struggling, and Olympic committees giving financial support to athletes who can’t afford to manage… If you are struggling this year and supposed to be a professional athlete, you are not really a professional athlete,” Lewis said.
The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan.
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Beijing, China.
For the Summer Olympics, 2020 will be held in Tokyo, Japan, 2024 in Paris, France and 2028 will be held in Los Angeles, California in the United States.
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