USA Track and Field calls for Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed
USA Track and Field follows USA Swimming in seeking delay to Tokyo Games
Last Updated: 21/03/20 6:50pm
USA Track and Field (USATF), the governing body of American athletics, has called for a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The federation, in a letter to United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chief executive Sarah Hirshland, asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Games which are scheduled to run from July 24-Aug. 9.
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"We certainly understand the ramifications of this request, and the realities of trying to coordinate the logistics of a postponed Olympic Games around the schedules of other athletes, sport federations, key stakeholders etc, but the alternative of moving forward in light of the current global situation would not be in the best interest of our athletes (as difficult as that decision might be)," USATF chief executive Max Siegel said in the letter.
The US track and field federation joined another leading US Olympic sport, USA Swimming, in seeking a delay to the Games.
Neither US Olympic officials nor the IOC were immediately available for comment on USATF's request.
The US committee said on Friday that athletes should continue their preparations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the IOC has pressed on during the health crisis, saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled.
The issue has sharply divided athletes globally and USATF said no decision should be made at the expense of the safety and well-being of our athletes.
"We acknowledge that there are no perfect answers, and that this is a very complex and difficult decision, but this position (to postpone the Games) at least provides our athletes with the comfort of knowing that they will have adequate time to properly prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to participate in a safe and successful Olympic Games," it said.
"We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes."
Brazil's Olympic Committee has also called for the Olympics to be postponed until 2021.
The Brazilian body said in a statement published on Saturday that the decision is a necessity due to the seriousness of the pandemic and "the consequent difficulty for athletes to keep their best competitive level."
On Friday, the Norwegian Olympic Committee said they wanted the Games to only to take place once the coronavirus outbreak is under firm control worldwide.
The Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) and the World Players Association (WPA) also called for organisers to review plans for the Games.