Pressure grows on Japan and IOC to cancel Olympics

Pressure grows on Japan and IOC to cancel Olympics
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games might be postponed due to the coronavirus. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: Pressures are piling on Japan and International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cancel the summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics “until the Covid-19 global pandemic is under control”.

British Olympic champion Callum Skinner is among the latest people to urge that call. The cyclist fronts competitor-led movement Global Athlete – says both should be rescheduled.

Canada has announced that it will not send teams to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Japan and IOC previously said they are wishing to arrange the Olympics in due time, but recently Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said an Olympic postponement “may become inevitable”.

Callum Skinner warned boycotts could ensue, with the health of athletes at risk.

“People think Olympians are superheroes but they are normal people and fall ill like everybody else,” he said.

“At London 2012, about 700 out of 10,000 athletes were diagnosed as asthmatic, which puts them in a high-risk category. Even if athletes don’t have Covid-19, they may have a cough so can’t compete.

“If the International Olympic Committee does continue to push ahead, we could see boycotts. As the pandemic gets worse and worse and there are more and more societal restrictions put in place, I think the call needs to be made now.”

The Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9. Paralympics are due to be held from 25 August to 6 September.

Global Athletes published a statement that says the body has consulted “hundreds of athletes” and Skinner says some are already being affected greatly.

The 2016 men’s cycling team sprint gold medallist told he is not able to ”train anywhere near as normal”.

Skinner is critical of the IOC and stated to ‘address the balance of power between athletes and administrators’.

On Friday, IOC president Thomas Bach said that “different scenarios” for the games are being considered for the first time.

“What has been puzzling from the IOC is the tone they’ve adopted is one of just continue and carry on,” he said. “That’s so out of step of what we’ve seen from the media and government leaders.”

He hints that the situation ” starting to look quite likely it will be postponed”, but athletes need certainty.