The head of USA Swimming is calling for the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics to be postponed until next year, citing disruptions the COVID-19 global pandemic has forced onto athletes’ lives as well as their training and competition schedules.
USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey made the request in a letter sent to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, saying he felt compelled to ask for a delay in one of the world’s largest sporting events.
In the past, the International Olympic Committee has been adamant that the Games would open 24 July. The Paralympics are scheduled to start 25 August.
‘The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counterproductive,’ the statement said.
Postponing the Games would have ramifications on TV rights, sponsor contractors, transportation and managing the workforce needed for an event like the Olympics.
Obviously, the biggest factor is whether COVID-19 has been contained. If the virus is still ravaging countries, it’s hard to see the Games happening. Even if the virus appears to be under control, there are issues like travel restrictions and closed borders. Health concerns could also result in athletes refusing to participate in the Games unless they are confident it is safe.