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Tokyo Olympics up in the air due to escalating concerns over coronavirus

21:40 | 26/02/2020

Canadian official Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee says that if the coronavirus proves too dangerous to handle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, organisers are more likely to cancel it all together rather than postponing it or moving it to another year.    

tokyo olympics up in the air due to escalating concerns over coronavirus Women’s team advance to Tokyo Olympics play-off round
tokyo olympics up in the air due to escalating concerns over coronavirus

Pound told media he estimated there is roughly a three-month window to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, meaning a decision could be put off until late May.

“In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?”‘ he said.

As the Games approach, “a lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there building their studios,” he said.

“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?”’

Pound was also sure to mention that many of the suggested alternatives are not as good of an idea as they may immediately seem. Moving the Olympics to another city would be difficult, as not many cities around the world could handle the size and scale on short notice Dispersing events throughout different venues would lose the feel of the Olympics, per Pound, and would feel more like a cluster of world championships.

If the Olympics are fully cancelled, there is an emergency insurance fund of $1 billion for organizations that need revenue from the Olympics to survive, which apparently includes the IOC itself.

Despite his warning, Pound also stressed that at this stage, the games are going ahead, with more than 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes planning on attending.

“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” he said. “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”

VNF/AP