With the world in lockdown as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, doubts are mounting over whether the 2020 Olympics will go ahead.
Scheduled to be held in Tokyo from 24 July to 9 August, a number of qualifying events have already been impacted. With the global sporting calendar largely frozen in a bid to contain the outbreak, views differ on whether the Games will go ahead. Here’s a summary of who has said what recently.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Friday.
“Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organizations or professional leagues in that we are four-and-a-half months away from the Games.”
IOC spokesman Wednesday
“No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes.”
World athletics chief Sebastian Coe when asked whether the Games could be postponed to September or October.
“Anything is possible at the moment.”
USA Swimming chief executive Tim Hinchey
“Respectfully requested…that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by one year to 2021.”
Bob Bowman, the coach who guided swimming great Michael Phelps to 28 Olympic medals.
“It’s (a postponement) not only best from a performance statement for the athletes, but also for what these athletes are going through right now in terms of their mental health.”
Greece’s Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi.
“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”
Hayley Wickenheiser, a Canadian IOC member and a four-time Olympic ice hockey gold medallist.
“I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”
United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chairwoman Susanne Lyons.
“We don’t have to make a decision. Our games are not next week, or two weeks from now. They’re four months from now. So we are affording the IOC the opportunity to gather information and expert advice.”
US world champion fencer Race Imboden on Twitter.
“Starting to feel a little worried about how the Olympic Games are being treated in respect to the athletes. We keep being told the Olympic Games are happening. Starting to realize it’s more important to have the games go on than the athletes be prepared or mentally healthy.”
Japanese Olympic Committee executive board member Kaori Yamaguchi, a former Olympic judoka.
“It should be postponed under the current situation where athletes are not well prepared.”