International Olympic Committee Declares it “Remains Fully Committed” to Tokyo Olympics Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

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Mar. 17, 2020

The International Olympic Committee declared Tuesday it “remains fully committed” to the Tokyo Games despite the coronavirus pandemic and with more than four months to go “there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage.”

The IOC statement came after consultations with international federations, national Olympic commitees and athletes’ representatives

Any speculation now would, it said in the communique that was unanimously supported by the IOC Executive Board, “be counter-productive.”

However, some senior IOC executives have said publicly that a decision on whether to hold the Tokyo Games as scheduled beginning the last week of July should be made by the end of May. Some have suggested re-scheduling the Games for one or two years.

At the same time, a survey conducted Sunday and Monday by Japan’s Kyodo News found that 69.9 per cent of Japanese people do not expect the Games to go ahead as currently planned.

Dozens of Olympic qualification events of most sports have been postponed as a result of the virus, officially identified as COVID-19, with numerous governments implementing travel restrictions and banning large gatherings.

The unprecedented situation for the whole world, the IOC said, is also impacting the preparations for the Olympics and changes day by day.

“The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can,” it said. “We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs (national Olympic committees), and by providing them with the latest information and developments…

“The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus.”

The format of tests events in March and April has been altered, it said, and the entire Games preparation supply chain has been analyzed and alternative plans adopted in case of disruption.

Planned visits by the IOC Coordination Commission to review projects will mostly be by teleconference and not in person.

It said that 57% of athletes are already qualified for the Games and the IOC will work with international federations to adapt systems where necessary to insure qualifications for the remaining 43%.