As Coronavirus sweeps across the globe, major events have been canceled and company profits shrink. As The Associated Press reports, the growing list of cancellations over fears of the illness may soon include the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, according to a longtime member of the games’ governing body, the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
With no plans to move the games, former champion swimmer and senior IOC member Dick Pound has warned that if the IOC fears the risk of holding the games in Japan will be too great, then “you’re probably looking at a cancellation,” he told AP. Furthermore, postponing the event isn’t really feasible. “You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics,” Pound explained. “There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons. … You can’t just say, `We’ll do it in October.’”
However, Pound sought to enlighten fans, not engender concern. The IOC will wait for judgement from the United Nations’ World Health Organization to make a move, and he encouraged athletes to continue training in the meantime. “As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” said Pound. “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.”
The contemporary Olympic games, which date back to 1896, have only ever been canceled once. Coincidentally, Japan was to be the hosting nation in 1940, the year the Olympics was canceled due to the country’s war with China and involvement in World War II. In 2016, the Olympics were held in Rio, Brazil, despite an outbreak of Zika virus.