This announcement has come after calls from several sporting entities for the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  These entities include Australian Swimming, US Swimming, US Track and Field and the athlete’s advocacy group Global Athlete. 

The current increased travel restrictions and quarantine measures have constrained or rendered impossible the ability of athletes to train for the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics.

Moreover, greater concerns exist about the potential health implications of attempting to continue training and ultimately compete while Covid-19 continues to be a serious health threat. 

As stated by Global Athlete: “Sport has a duty of care to protect their athletes.  Public health must be a priority over sporting event.  By asking them (athletes) to carry on as normal and continue to train for these Games clearly puts their physical and mental health at risk”.

The lack of initial action by some sporting bodies and leagues, including the English Premier League, the NBA, and the NHL, has seen the disease spread indiscriminately within their respective sporting communities.

With the pandemic expecting to continue for months, and only a small number of individuals needed to infect a wider population, founded worries of athlete welfare has pushed the IOC to its current position.

The IOC is expected to hold talks for the next four weeks to come up with an alternative plan.