Coronavirus: USA Track and Field joins USA Swimming by calling for 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed
Two major US sports bodies are now calling for the postponement of the 2020 Olympics
The USA Track and Field and USA Swimming federations have both called for this summer's 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to be delayed because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo.
In a letter written to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, USA Track and Field chief executive Max Siegel said:
"Unfortunately, while our world class athletes are willing to push themselves to their athletic limits in pursuit of Olympic success, the likelihood that they will be able to properly train in a safe and adequate environment, and replicate the excellence we have come to expect, does not appear likely in the midst of this global crisis.
As we have learned, our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness is among our highest priorities.
We certainly understand the ramifications of this request, and the realities of trying to coordinate the logistics of a postponed Olympic Games around the schedules of other athletes, sport federations, key stakeholders etc., but the alternative of moving forward in light of the current global situation would not be in the best interest of our athletes (as difficult as that decision might be)."
The request from USA Track and Field follows a request from USA Swimming to postpone the Olympics for 12 months. USA Swimming chief executive Tim Hinchey wrote to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and specifically requested that the Olympics be pushed back one year:
"As this global pandemic has grown, we have 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. Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime and anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer.
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."
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee responded to the request on Friday in a statement:
"We understand that the athletes have concerns about training, qualification and anti-doping controls, and that they want transparency, communication and clarity to the full extent possible. The USOPC has made it clear that all athletes should put their health and wellness, and the health and wellness of the greater community, above all else at this unprecedented moment.
The USOPC is in constant communication with senior leadership of the IOC and IPC – and they have also expressed that their focus is on the health and well-being of athletes, and communities around the world, and that they will continue to rely on advice from the World Health Organization as they determine if it is necessary to adapt their position as the situation evolves. They believe that it is premature to make a final call on the date of the Games and we believe that we should afford them the opportunity to gather more data and expert advice before insisting that a decision be made."
The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruptions, including cancellations and suspensions, to the global sports calendar. Many Olympic qualifiers have been postponed due to the growing concern of COVID-19.
CBS News has the latest updates about the virus, which has affected various sports globally and in the United States and more than 10,000 people have died due to the virus.
Here at CBS Sports, we have running updates on how sports leagues are responding to coronavirus.
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