The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is supposedly “in talks” to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as reported by the Financial Times. The governing body confirmed just last week that it will not cancel the games, but recent reports have noted that Japan’s Olympic minister is suggesting its postponement to a later part of 2020. Seiko Hashimoto, President of the Japan Skating Federation, told FT, “We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned.”
The IOC held an emergency meeting on March 22 and announced that it will make its decision regarding the postponement in four weeks. “Our basis of information today is that a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature,” Committee President Thomas Bach wrote in a letter. “A decision about a postponement today could not determine a new date for the Olympic Games because of the uncertain developments in both directions: an improvement, as we are seeing in a number of countries thanks to the severe measures being taken, or a deteriorating situation in other countries.”
Bach also reaffirmed that the cancellation of the games was not an option, “Cancellation of the Olympic Games would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, most likely for the Paralympic athletes, and for all the people who are supporting you as coaches, doctors, officials, training partners, friends and family.” He continued, “Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody. Therefore it is not on our agenda.”
As the governing body mulls over the postponement, Canada announced that it will be pulling out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics unless the IOC delays the Games for a year. The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee revealed the news in a joint statement, writing, “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 statement follows, “This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Committee executive board has unanimously agreed that they will not be able to bring together a team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “It is very difficult for those amateur athletes. Because some of them could have part-time jobs they don’t have anymore,” Chief Executive Matt Carroll said. “International competitions has stopped now so they don’t have the prize money they would otherwise get.”
Elsewhere in sports, Russell Houghton’s Urban Isolation video imagines skateboarding during a pandemic.