More athletes are going public to petition the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with two new organizations joining the fight to move the games to 2021 in the last day. With the Olympics merely four months away, the increased public pressure on the IOC might finally force their hand.
First, on Saturday, USA Track & Field joined their colleagues in USA Swimming in calling for a postponement, citing concerns over inadequate preparation ahead of the Olympics, which could lead to injury and sub-par performance.
— USATF (@usatf) March 21, 2020
On Sunday, Global Athlete — a group that represents a number of Olympic hopefuls — released a statement asking for a postponement, because continuing on with the Olympics would put athletes that have to train at risk of the coronavirus:
Sport has a duty of care to protect their athletes. Public health must be a priority over sporting events. By asking them to carry on as normal and continue to train for these Games clearly puts their physical and mental health at risk.
Global Athlete’s statement goes on to make a strong case for hosting the Olympics once the pandemic is over, given the games’ purpose as a uniting force for the entire global community:
We all recognize the Games provided a unique ability to bring together countries and unite a divided world. That is why waiting is so important. With meaningful collective athlete engagement, a future Games could act as a celebration showcasing that we all did our part in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finally, the statement also calls for sponsors and broadcasters to play along with any postponements, given the “uncharted times” that the world finds itself in.
Whether the IOC decides to move the Olympics or not, one thing is becoming clearer as more voices join the movement to postpone the games a year: the committee needs to decide, and soon, or face a last-minute scramble that will not guarantee the safety and health of the athletes.
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