USA Swimming, the national governing body of professional swimming in America, wants the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo delayed at least one year in response to the coronavirus global pandemic, according to a report from USA Today. The organization is hoping that the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee will advocate on their behalf for this change.
USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey sent a letter to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland saying he has "watched our athletes' worlds be turned upside down and watched them struggle to find ways to continue to prepare and train - many for the biggest competitive opportunity of their lives" as the threat of COVID-19 has grown.
"Everyone has experienced unimaginable disruptions, mere months before the Olympic Games, which calls into question the authenticity of a level playing field for all," Hinchey added. "Our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness should be among the highest priorities."
The letter was sent with "overwhelming support" from USA Swimming's top officials, swimmers and coaches, according to USA Today. Hinchey formally requested in the letter that the Games be postponed until 2021, to assure that athletes can properly prepare for their respective qualifiers and events.
"It is with the burden of these serious concerns that we respectfully request that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by one year," he wrote. "There are no perfect answers, and this will not be easy; however, it is a solution that provides a concrete path forward and allows all athletes to prepare for a safe and successful Olympic Games in 2021.
"We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes."
The spread of COVID-19 has forced the postponement or outright cancellations of sports leagues around the world. This includes all four major sports leagues in the United States, which have been suspended indefinitely. The pandemic has killed over 10,000 people worldwide with over 14,000 cases in the United States and 247,000 cases globally.