Feb 25, 2020 - Sports

Olympic official: Tokyo is "looking at a cancellation" if coronavirus not contained by late May

Olympic rings
View of the Olympic Rings near the new National Stadium in Tokyo. Photo: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The fate of the Tokyo Olympics is expected to be decided within the next three months amid fears surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday.

The state of play: The games are on as of now, but the committee's final decision will depend on discussions with the World Health Organization, Pound said. The Olympics are set to bring roughly 11,000 athletes to Tokyo, with the event scheduled to begin on July 24. Another 4,400 athletes will arrive in Japan for the Paralympics set to start on Aug. 25.

What he's saying: "All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation," Pound said.

  • "It's a big, big, big decision and you just can't take it until you have reliable facts on which to base it."

Yes, but: Pound said if the Olympics couldn't take place in Tokyo this summer, canceling would be more likely than moving to another city, or postponement.

  • "You just don't postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics."
  • "There's so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can't just say, we'll do it in October."

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