In an interview with USA Today, Canadian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound said the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport says “Not making a decision right now to postpone the Games is indefensible …”
Earlier today we reported that the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) announced that Canadian teams would not be attending the Olympic Games in Tokyo if they were held this summer. In an interview with USA Today, IOC member Dick Pound said the “2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed, likely to 2021, with the details to be worked out in the next four weeks.”
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) also sent out a release this afternoon, saying “it applauds the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) for the bold leadership they have demonstrated in deciding not to send Canadian teams to the Tokyo Games if they are held this summer.”
Because the world is “in the midst of fighting the greatest public health crisis of our time,” the CCES recommends that the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) “immediately postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games until the World Health Organization (WHO) advises that the threat of coronavirus is sufficiently contained.”
“Not making a decision right now to postpone the Games is indefensible for at least the following three reasons,” according to the CCES. “First, it forces athletes to make decisions about whether to risk getting infected by training at a level that would be required to be ready to compete in the Tokyo Games on the basis of inconsistent explicit and implicit messages about the likely duration of the crisis, the severity of the risks, and the urgent need for maximum social distancing. Second, it puts athletes’ families, friends, and the general public at risk if athletes attempt to continue training and do not maximize social distancing – an increased risk that may further overload healthcare systems around the world. Third, it undermines the efforts of the WHO and national and local governments to have their citizens adopt the necessary social distancing measures.
“By not acting immediately to postpone the Games, the IOC and IPC send the message that they value the Games over and above the health and wellbeing of athletes, Canadians, and indeed all citizens of the world. The IOC and IPC must not send that message. The CCES therefore calls on the IOC and IPC to immediately postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games until the WHO advises that the threat of coronavirus is sufficiently contained.”