IOC Member Says 2020 Tokyo Olympics Will Be Postponed - By Elizabeth Jeneault - J-Pop Exchange Information & Views
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IOC Member Says 2020 Tokyo Olympics Will Be Postponed

By Elizabeth Jeneault for The J-Pop Exchange

Less than 24 hours after the International Olympic Committee finally announced it was considering the possibility of postponing the Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, the postponement has been decided,” said Pound in a phone interview Monday. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

While the IOC had announced Sunday that it would make a decision within four weeks time as to whether the Games would be postponed or not, many were frustrated by that long timetable. It prompted several teams to announce they would not send their athletes to the Games if they were to be held this summer. Canada was the first country to do so, making that announcement Sunday night.

"While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement. “This is not solely about athlete health -- it is about public health.”

Australia also said its Olympic athletes could not possibly attend the 2020 Summer Games, citing the great stress and uncertainty they feel from the coronavirus pandemic. Athletes from many other nations also voiced their concerns, including the heads of USA Swimming and USA Track & Field.

Postponement does appear increasingly inevitable and Pound’s interview with USA Today confirms that. While the IOC itself did not give an indication Monday that a delay was certain, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did. Abe admitted Monday that the Tokyo Olympics cannot be held under the current circumstances.

“If I’m asked whether we can hold the Olympics at this point in time, I would have to say that the world is not in such a condition,” the Kyodo News agency reports Abe told a parliamentary session Monday.

Cancelling the Games entirely, however, is not an option. The IOC made that clear Sunday, and Abe reiterated it Monday.

“Although the IOC will make the final decision (on the matter), we are of the same view that cancellation is not an option,” said Abe.

Japan has already spent billions of dollars preparing for the Summer Olympics, but at least one expert says it could cost as much as $5.8 billion more to postpone it by a year. And there are not just hefty costs to consider, but also the availability of venues. Those are things the IOC says it will be discussing in the coming weeks.

Members of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee also revealed Monday they may drastically reduce the scale of the torch relay in Japan. The Olympic flame arrived in the country on Friday.

There’s clearly a lot left to be discussed and planned, but it seems more certain now than ever that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed.

While previous Olympics have been cancelled during periods of war, they have never been postponed.

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