IOC says no ‘ideal’ solution for Tokyo Olympics as athletes voice virus concerns
Lausanne: Olympic chiefs acknowledged Wednesday there was no “ideal” solution to staging the Tokyo Olympics amid a backlash from athletes as the deadly coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.
“This is an exceptional situation which requires exceptional solutions,” an International Olympic Committee spokesperson said after criticism from top athletes that they were being forced to take health risks should the July 24-August 9 Games go ahead as scheduled during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The IOC is committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.
“No solution will be ideal in this situation, and this is why we are counting on the responsibility and solidarity of the athletes.”
Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi and British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson had earlier both voiced concerns after the IOC said it was “fully committed” to running the Games as scheduled from July 24.
Stefanidi, one of Greece’s most prominent athletes, was scheduled to hand the ceremonial flame to Japanese officials before the Greek leg of the torch relay was scrapped over COVID-19, which has 194,000 cases with 7,873 deaths, across 150 countries and territories as of 0900 GMT Wednesday.
“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day?” she tweeted.
“You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”
On Tuesday, minutes before the IOC statement, the Euro 2020 football tournament was delayed for a year, bowing to the crisis that has paralysed Europe and drastically curtailed international travel.