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IOC President Says Canceling Olympics Isn't on the Agenda

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The International Olympics Committee hasn’t shifted from its stance that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games will not be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the committee has started to look at different scenarios, including postponing the Olympics from the scheduled start date of July 24.

“We don’t know what the situation will be,” IOC president Thomas Bach told The New York Times, saying that it’s too early to make a decision. “We are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organizations or professional leagues in that we are four and a half months away from the Games.

“We owe it to all the athletes, and we owe it to all the half of the world that watches the Olympics to say we are not putting the cancellation of the Games on the agenda.”

The rest of the world may force the IOC's hand, as Canada and Australia each announced that they won't send athletes to Tokyo if the Games aren't postponed. 

The coronavirus outbreak currently has the rest of the sporting world shut down, including the NBA and NHL suspending their seasons, the MLB postponing opening day, and the NCAA canceling winter championships.

“It is first and foremost about protecting the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus,” Bach said. “Second, the decision of the IOC will not be determined by any financial interest. Thanks to our risk management policies that have been in place for four years and our insurance, the IOC in any case will be able to continue operations and continue to accomplish our mission.”

The Olympic training schedule has already been thrown off, including U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training facilities in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Lake Placid, N.Y., being closed for at least 30 days.

Japanese Olympic Committee executive board member Kaori Yamaguchi told the Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday that the Olympics should be postponed because the IOC is putting athletes at risk.

“As far as I can tell from news reports coming out of the U.S. and Europe, I don’t think the situation allows for athletes to continue training as usual,” Yamaguchi said. “By asking them to train under these conditions, the IOC is opening itself up to criticism that it is not putting athletes first.

“The Olympics symbolize the ideal that sports bring about world peace. We should not hold (the Olympics) if people across the world can’t enjoy themselves.”

According to The Japan Times, Japan Football Association President Kozo Tashima has tested positive for the coronavirus.

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