Dick Pound talks coronavirus and cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics
Canadian Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, said there is a short two- or three-month window in which the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be cancelled.
There has been growing concern over that prospect since the coronavirus took hold in China and has since started spreading to other countries including Japan. Dick Pound's comments to the Associated Press in an exclusive interview confirmed that an Olympic Games cancellation is a legitimate possibility. And if cancellation is imminent, we will know in the next few months until around 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?’” he said, to The Associated Press.
Pound goes on to state that if coronavirus does prevent the Games from taking place, it is unlikely the competition would be postponed due to the overwhelming logistics of such a move.
But, it wasn't all negative. He did say the 11,000 athletes slated to participate at the Games should plan to attend, and that is still the most likely scenario.
“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound said, to the Associated Press. “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.”
In the history of the Olympic Games, there have been five cancellations, all due to the First and Second World Wars, including the first time the Games were scheduled to be held in Tokyo in 1940.