Fri, 03 Apr 2020

Japan's hosting of 2020 Olympics thrown into doubt by coronavirus

Field Level Media
26 Feb 2020, 05:55 GMT+10

A senior International Olympic Committee member said this summer's Tokyo Olympics could be canceled if the coronavirus is not under control by 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?'" Dick Pound told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview published Tuesday.

If the virus remains a threat, Pound said the games are more likely to be canceled than either postponed or moved due to the logistics.

The games are scheduled for July 24 through Aug. 9. Before that time, Pound said "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."

If the IOC decides it is too dangerous, "you're probably looking at a cancellation," Pound said.

The viral outbreak has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, mostly in China, since it began two months ago. Japan has more than 150 confirmed cases.

Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion and an IOC member since 1978, said that the 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries who are expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics should continue training.

"As far as we all know, you're going to be in Tokyo," Pound 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."

Since the start of the modern Olympics in 1896, the games have only been canceled three times -- once during World War I and twice during World War II.

Tokyo last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964.

--Field Level Media

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