IOC considering postponing Tokyo Olympics

Concern In Japan As The Covid 19 Spreads
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 26: A woman wearing a face mask walks past the Olympic rings in front of the new National Stadium, the main stadium for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, on February 26, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Concerns that the Tokyo Olympics may be postponed or cancelled are increasing as Japan confirms 862 cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and as some professional sporting contests are being called off or rescheduled and some major Japanese corporations ask for people to work from home. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The IOC will take four weeks to weigh options for the Tokyo Games amid mounting calls from athletes and Olympic officials for a postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The time will be used to plan different scenarios for the July 24-Aug. 9 games, the International Olympic Committee said Sunday.

“These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games,” the IOC said.

Though canceling the Tokyo Olympics is not an option, a delay until later this year or in 2021 is possible.

The change in strategy followed IOC president Thomas Bach leading a telephone conference call with executive board members.

Bach has consistently said organizers are fully committed to holding the games from July 24-Aug. 9 — despite athlete training, qualifying events and games preparations being disrupted more and more by the virus outbreak spreading globally.

Criticism of the stance grew in recent days — from athletes and by a first IOC member last Tuesday — and Bach finally acknowledged an alternative plan was possible.

“Of course we are considering different scenarios,” Bach told the New York Times in an interview late Thursday.

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