Veteran IOC board member Dick Pound says Olympics will be postponed

While an official decision is set to be four-weeks away, one IOC board member says this summer's Oly...

Veteran IOC board member Dick...


Veteran IOC board member Dick Pound says Olympics will be postponed

While an official decision is set to be four-weeks away, one IOC board member says this summer's Olympic Games will be postponed. 

Dick Pound is the IOC's longest serving board member and has told USA Today he is sure the games won't go ahead from July 24.

The Norwegian and Canadian Olympic Committees have already confirmed they won't sending athletes to Tokyo in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) will seek guidance from its member associations and athletes before taking a decision on participation.

Australia has gone so far as to tell its athletes to prepare for a summer 2021 games.

Athletes have found their training regimes majorly disrupted with mass gatherings ruled out in most countries during the COVID-19 panic.

There has been some criticism of the IOC's month-long window before confirming their stance, but Pound believes a decision's already been made, "On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided", he told USA Today.

"The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

Only the two World Wars have previously caused an Olympics to be moved or called-off entirely.

And while IOC President Thomas Bach has unequivocally ruled out a cancellation, Pound says the decision to postpone is imminent, "It will come in stages.

"We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."

However, current IOC vice president Anita DeFrantz told veteran Olympic journalist Philip Hersh that a decision whether to postpone or not is yet to be made.

"If that is the case, then you know more than a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee", DeFrantz said of Pound's assertion.

“It would be news to me", she added.

But speaking with Sportsnet 590 The Fan, Pound doubled down on his claim, "It's really a question of whether you postpone by a year or you try and see whether you can squeeze this in at the end of 2020 but with the curve on the COVID virus heading almost straight up, it's just so unlikely that I think you're looking at a year.

"In Japan, you've got the prime minister [Shinzo Abe] advising the Japanese public that it looks like they won't be able to proceed as planned and that a postponement may be likely – along with the support of 69% of his constituents that prefer to have a postponement."

"I think the only rational conclusion from all that is we're talking postponement and you need the four weeks that they mentioned to come up with an alternative," he added.

"You can't just say, 'We're going to postpone.' Because that relieves none of the uncertainty that's out there.

"We're going to take four weeks and we'll come up and we're going to give you as much of a Plan B as much as we can at that time."

Laurence Gostin is the director of the World Health Organisation's Centre on Global Health Law and told the Wall Street Journal that Tokyo 2020 should be deferred, "No-one could say with any degree of confidence that the situation globally will be better.

"Even if you're on the downturn in Asia and Japan, it would be on the upswing in many parts of the world.

"I could see the US and Canada near peaking, and possibly in Mexico.

"I could see the curve of the pandemic on the way up in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

"Since this is a global event, it would be the height of folly to consider going forward, and that's if the borders opened, travel restrictions lifted and the airlines started flying."

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Dick Pound IOC International Olympic Committee Olympic Federation Of Ireland Olympic Games Olympics Sarah Keane Tokyo Tokyo 2020

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