Sports | March 21, 2020 10:30 am

Head of USA Swimming Asks IOC to Postpone Tokyo Olympics Due to COVID-19

Tim Hinchey III has cited player preparation as a reason to push the games one year

Olympics logo
The Olympic Rings logo is pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Despite the International Olympic Committee’s constant reassurance that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would continue as previously planned, cracks are beginning to show in the support for this summer’s games. On Friday, USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey III asked the IOC to postpone the Olympics, citing the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on preparation and player health and safety ahead of the planned start date of July 24.

In a letter to the IOC, Hinchey called for a one-year delay in the games, pushing them to 2021:

The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations.

Hinchey is not alone in citing the lack of conventional preparation as yet another reason, beyond public health, to move the games. On Thursday, Japanese Olympic Committee board member Kaori Yamaguchi said the same, as athletes currently self-quarantining are not able to prepare their bodies for the rigorous games in the same way that they would have prior to the pandemic.

For their part, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which oversees all American Olympic athletes and teams, is still following the IOC’s lead. CEO Sarah Hirshland said as much responding to Hinchey’s letter:

(The IOC and International Paralympic Committee) 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.

With the games just over four months away and no real end in sight for the coronavirus pandemic and the related social distancing, the IOC will likely have to make a call in the near future about postponing the games or carrying on as normal. For now, it seems that they are set on the latter option, despite mounting pressure from all sides.

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Read the full story at CNN