The postponement of the Olympics over the coronavirus pandemic may become “inevitable,” Japan’s prime minister stated on Monday, after the International Olympic Committee hinted that a delay was expected as pressure from athletes and sporting bodies’ rises.
The remarks from Shinzo Abe were his first acknowledgment that the 2020 Games may not open as planned on July 24, as the coronavirus, marches across the globe causing unimaginable chaos.
Meanwhile Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic committees have announced that they would not send teams to the Games if they are held this summer, citing their athletes’ safety and the general public.
And Australia’s Olympic Committee instructed the athletes to train for a 2021 summer Tokyo Olympics in the northern hemisphere.
Australia’s chef de mission Ian Chesterman said, “It’s clear the games won’t be held in July.”
Japan and Olympic officials have held the line for weeks that plans are going forward to hold the Games as planned, but the pressure from sports federations and athletes whose training has been thrown into chaos has been rising.
On Monday, Abe told parliament that Japan was still committed to hosting the “complete” Games, but added, “If that becomes difficult, in light of considering athletes first, it may become inevitable that we make a decision to postpone.”
Abe further added that cancellation is not an option as it would not solve the problems and wouldn’t help anybody.
The decision is speculated to come within the next four weeks.