The symbolic Olympic flame arrived on the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force’s Matsushima Base in Miyagi Prefecture on Friday morning. This is meant to mark the start of the countdown to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held from 24 July to 9 August and 25 August to 6 September, respectively.
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Tuesday of last week that the games would proceed as planned, as is true throughout the world right now, so much has changed in just a week with the COVID-19 global pandemic.
From last week and over the weekend, sports organizations such as USA Track & Field (USATF) have made official requests to National Olympic Committees to postpone the games. Some requests have called for a postponement of one year, while others were more ambiguous, requesting the games be rescheduled after COVID-19 is under control.
Organizations making official requests and statements include USATF, USA Swimming, the French Swimming Federation, the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA), the Norwegian Olympic Committee, the Brazil Olympic Committee, and the Slovenian Olympic Committee, butthis number is sure to grow in the coming days and weeks.
On Saturday, the Brazil Olympic Committee called for the Tokyo Games to be postponed for a year, due to “the consequent difficulty for athletes to maintain their best competitive level due to the need to stop training and competitions” on a global scale.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike maintains that the decision rests with the IOC, and Thomas Bach, IOC President maintains that the IOC will follow World Health Organization recommendations regarding a possible postponement. An extraordinary IOC committee meeting will be held this week, the third this month, which is unprecedented. In an interview with The Economic Times last week, Bach stressed that cancellation is not on the agenda and stated, “Of course we are considering different scenarios.”