Olympic official, Dick Pound, said they are “looking at a cancellation” of the Tokyo games if the coronavirus isn’t contained in the next few months.
“In and around that time [end of May], 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?'” Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee, shared with the Associated Press in a piece published Tuesday about the spread of the virus. (RELATED: ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ Stops Filming In Italy Because Of The Coronavirus)
IOC member Dick Pound says Tokyo Olympic organizers have until late May to see if the virus is under control. If not, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation.” https://t.co/e90SS6Px8B
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 25, 2020
“You’re probably looking at a cancellation,” he added, while he explained that the reason is that “a lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there building their studios.” (RELATED: Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Infected With Coronavirus As The Country Becomes An Epicenter Of The Outbreak)
But he shared, at this point, the games will be in Tokyo with about 11,000 athletes expected for the Olympics, which open July 24, and 4,400 bound for the Paralympics, which open Aug. 25.
“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound said. “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.”
He continued, while explaining that postponement because of the virus due to the “size” of the Olympics is just not an option.
“You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics,” the senior member of the IOC shared. “There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say, ‘We’ll do it in October.'”
And he said that trying to move it all to another city at this late date is just not an option “because there are few places in the world that could think of gearing up facilities in that short time to put something on.”
According to the report:
The viral outbreak that began in China two months ago has infected more than 80,000 people globally and killed over 2,700, the vast majority of them in China. But the virus has gained a foothold in South Korea, the Middle East and Europe, raising fears of a pandemic. Japan itself has reported four deaths.
“If it gets to be something like the Spanish flu,” Pound said, “at that level of lethality, then everybody’s got to take their medicine.”
The Olympics, which date to 1896, have only been cancelled in war time. The 1940 Olympics scheduled in Tokyo were called off because of Japan’s war with China and World War II.