COVID-19 continues to shutdown sports
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, March 23, 2020
Canada pulling out of the 2020 Summer Olympics is just the latest in the past few weeks of cancellations and postponements in the sporting world.
Update. International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said this afternoon the 2020 Olympics are going to be postponed. Original story follows...
It hasn’t even been two full weeks since the Coronavirus shut down the NBA, NHL, MLB and every big sports league in North America.
The next to go might be the 2020 Olympics. Canada has said they will not attend, Australia followed suit and both countries have committed to not going unless the games are postponed.
"This is not solely about athlete health — this is about public health."
Canada, Brazil and Slovenia have been some of the leaders in asking the Olympic committee to delay the games until 2021.
On Sunday the committee held a meeting and the president, Thomas Bach, told reporters, "A decision about a postponement today could not determine a new date for the Olympic Games because of the uncertain developments in both directions."
Britain's 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, is among many who are disappointed in the four week deadline, she responded to the IOC’s statement on twitter, “So wait… Does this mean that athletes face up to another FOUR weeks of finding ways to fit in training -- whilst potentially putting ourselves, coaches, support staff and loved ones at risk just to find out they were going to be postponed anyway.”
In a separate statement, the International Paralympic Committee said it "fully supported" the IOC's decision to further assess the outbreak before coming to a decision.
With the meeting seemingly solving nothing, Norway has also said they won’t attend the games unless the outbreak of COVID-19 is contained.
As of today, the summer games are still scheduled for July 24th in Japan.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, told parliament that they were still committed to a "complete" Games, but said, "If that becomes difficult, in light of considering athletes first, it may become inevitable that we make a decision to postpone."
The United states have recently been calling for a delay as well, but said Sunday that they would not comment on Canada’s decision.
But that didn’t stop their athletes...
“YESSSSSS CANADA!!!!!!! pulls out of OLYMPICS UNLESS IOC POSTPONE!!!,” tweeted U.S. former Olympian Lolo Jones. “OUR HEALTH IS MORE important than sport. Hopefully the UNITED STATES is next.”
The Olympics have never been postponed or cancelled during peacetime, but with the number of COVID-19 related deaths now exceeding 15,000 worldwide, it looks more and more like pushing it back a year is inevitable.
Testing is still a big issue when it comes to the Coronavirus. New cases will continue as testing becomes more widespread and easier to administer.
For the sporting world, it means alot of unknowns.
Most leagues are postponed until any new information is discovered. The Olympics taking their time is more evidence of how complex COVID-19 has been for not just sports, but for the world to contain.