Tokyo Olympics may be postponed amid coronavirus pandemic

Tokyo Olympics may be postponed amid coronavirus pandemic
Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee is considering to postpone Tokyo Games 2020, which could mark the first step in ultimately delaying the world’s largest sporting event because of the novel coronavirus.

The IOC board said it is considering several options to deal with the ongoing outbreak, including modifying plans to allow the 2020 Tokyo Games to begin on schedule on July 24 or changing the start date for the Games.

Only last week the IOC president, Thomas Bach, insisted that there was “No Plan B”, but it has since softened its stance amid mounting criticism by athletes amid the coronavirus crisis. The IOC will now examine several scenarios over the next month, but it is thought that deferring to the summer of 2021 is the most likely option.

Canada and Australia will not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak, the Olympic committees for both countries said in separate statements.

Both countries' Olympic committees also are calling for the Games to be postponed until 2021.

"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 Sunday. "This is not solely about athlete health -- it is about public health."

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said athletes should prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

"The athletes desperately want to go to the games...but they also take onboard their own personal health," Carroll told reporters in Sydney on Monday. "We need to give our athletes that certainty and that's what we've done."