SHOULD THE GAMES GO ON AMID VIRUS?
Olympians are asking IOC for clarity about holding the Tokyo Games in July
For a day, maybe, it seemed that Stanford alumna Katerina Stefanidi and other Olympians had finally gotten International Olympic Committee leaders to wake up as they barrel onward in pursuit of holding the Tokyo Games this summer.
Stefanidi, the reigning Olympic pole vault champion from Greece, was among athletes to publicly express concern this week after IOC members and Japanese officials left the impression that the Summer Olympics, July 24-Aug. 9, would go on as planned.
“It is putting us at risk,” Stefanidi told Reuters.
Even Spain’s Olympic Committee president asked that the Games be postponed because his country’s athletes cannot train adequately four months beforehand.
After the quick backlash from athletes, the august IOC sent out another statement: “This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions. The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.”
By Thursday, they were back to defending their previous position. According to news reports, IOC leaders again insisted the Tokyo Games were on schedule in a conference call with the Japanese Olympic Committee and other Asian Olympic groups.
IOC president Thomas Bach said on the call that every national Olympic committee supported the policy — never mind Spain’s sports leader contradicting that claim.
Then came word from two Italian senior sports executives urging the IOC to revise its stance.
“I’m not against the Olympics. But saying that the Olympics will still go on is a big mistake in communication,” Giovanni
orker is dwarfed by the Olympics Rings on a barge Jan. 17, in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.
Katerina Stefanidi, Greek Olympic Champion in pole vault, lights the altar during the Olympic flame handover ceremony for the 2020Tokyo Summer Olympics, in Athens, Thursday,