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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The International Olympic Committee acknowledged for the first time Sunday that it may have to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games — an outcome that once felt impossible but now, amid mounting external pressure, feels inevitable.

The state of play: The IOC set a four-week deadline for a decision and added that canceling the Games is not under consideration because that "would not solve any of the problems or help anybody."

Two countries are out: In separate statements last night, Canada and Australia both said they will not send Olympic or Paralympic athletes to the Games if they're held this summer.

  • USA Track & Field and USA Swimming — America's two biggest sports federations — have both called on the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to push for a postponement.
  • The Japanese government has been steadfast in saying that the Games will go on, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted hours ago that a postponement might be "unavoidable."
  • More than 4,000 track and field athletes from six continents participated in a poll and 78% said the Olympics should be postponed.

Between the lines: Most of the concern surrounding the Olympics has been about the safety of the event itself, which would see thousands of athletes live in close quarters for weeks before flying back to their home countries.

  • Missing from that discussion is the topic of athlete training, which has been disrupted in almost every country due to closed facilities and other pandemic-related challenges.
  • 87% of track and field athletes in the poll I cited above said their training has been adversely affected by the coronavirus.
  • Team USA swimmers Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel, who have 10 Olympic medals between them, were unable to swim last week after the Stanford facilities where they train were shut down.

The bottom line: Since the first modern Olympics in 1896, the Games have been canceled three times because of world wars (1916, 1940, 1944) but never postponed. That seems destined to change in the coming weeks or even days.

  • Should that happen, it's hard to overstate how many people and businesses would be impacted. Suspending the NBA and NHL seasons is one thing, but postponing the largest sports gathering on Earth is a totally different beast.
  • Whereas the NBA and NHL have a combined 1,222 athletes from 64 countries who play 81+ games annually, the Summer Olympics features more than 11,000 athletes from all corners of the world, many of whom train their entire lives for one shot at glory.

Go deeper: How the coronavirus-driven sports outage impacts TV and advertising

Go deeper

11 mins ago - Sports

China pulls Celtics games after Enes Kanter criticizes Xi Jinping

Celtics center Enes Kanter. Photo: Jim Michaud/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

China will no longer stream Boston Celtics games after center Enes Kanter called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "brutal dictator" in a social media post over his government's repressive policies in Tibet, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Kanter's criticism of Beijing has sparked another round of trouble for the NBA in China, one of its largest and most restrictive markets.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's new venture could be peak SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Tesla is outrunning the supply chain crunch

Expand chart
Data: FactSet and company release; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Tesla, citing a "structural shift" in demand for electric vehicles, reported its highest-ever quarterly profit of $1.6 billion and $13.8 billion in revenues despite supply chain problems.

The big picture: The company's third-quarter report says the chip shortage, port congestion and other woes have affected its factories but argues that "flexibility" and "ingenuity" are a counterweight.