US athletics federation requires Olympic postponement

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic flame is lit exterior Sendai railway station, Miyagi prefecture on March 21, 2020, after arriving from Greece. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

United States athletics’ governing physique joined requires the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed on Saturday, urging US Olympic chiefs to push for the Games to be delayed as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USA Track and Field chief Max Siegel mentioned forging forward with Olympic preparations “would not be in the best interest of our athletes.”

The USATF name for a postponement echoed the same request by USA Swimming on Friday after the USOPC mentioned it was too quickly to postpone the July 24-August 9 Games.

Siegel urged the USOPC to help a postponement, citing the well being and security of athletes in addition to disruption to coaching and competitors schedules brought on by the COVID-19 disaster.

“Our athletes are under tremendous pressure stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness is among our highest priorities,” Siegel mentioned.

“The proper and accountable factor to do is to prioritize everybody’s well being and security and appropriately acknowledge the toll this tough state of affairs has, and continues to take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations.

“For those reasons, USATF is respectfully requesting that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) advocate to the IOC for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

Siegel acknowledged that there “were no perfect answers” to what was a “very complex and difficult decision.”

“But this position 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, and that they can shift their focus toward taking care of themselves and their families,” he mentioned.

‘Speak up for athletes’
“We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes.”

On Friday, USOPC chairwoman Susanne Lyons mentioned there was no want for the IOC to make an instantaneous determination on a doable postponement of the Tokyo video games, insisting that organisers had time on their facet.

“I think we would concur with the IOC to say that we need more expert advice and information than we have today to make a decision,” Lyons mentioned.

“And we don’t must decide. Our video games should not subsequent week, or two weeks from now. They’re 4 months from now.

“So we are affording the IOC the opportunity to gather that information and expert advice. At this point in time, we do not feel that it’s necessary for us to insist that they make a decision.”

However, the USOPC place met with instant resistance, with USA Swimming issuing an open letter calling for Olympic chiefs to hunt a postponement.

“We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes,” USA Swimming chief government Tim Hinchey wrote.

“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations,” he added.

The requires an Olympic postponement by US federations mirror requests in different international locations. France’s swim federation has additionally known as for a delay, together with British observe and area’s governing physique.

Retired US observe and area star Ashton Eaton, a double Olympic decathlon champion, mentioned on Twitter that delaying Tokyo for a 12 months was the one smart possibility.

“Tokyo 2021. Nothing else makes sense,” Eaton wrote. “Anything else is socially irresponsible.

“How can the IOC and Japanese NOC in good conscience maintain one of many world’s largest and most essential gatherings and danger facilitating the acceleration of world contagion and having the worst occasion in historical past?

“Most evidence … showed Tokyo2020 is/was set to be one of the best Olympics in history,” he added.

“Japan, the athletes, the sponsors, the fans, local businesses; all deserve the best shot at that. 2020 is not it.”

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