Mar 23, 2020 - Health

Team USA calls for Tokyo Games delay amid coronavirus concerns

A man wearing a face mask, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, walks past a display showing a countdown to the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

A display showing a countdown to the start of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee issued a statement Monday evening calling on this summer's Tokyo Games to be postponed over the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The call came a day after Canada and Australia made similar calls and announced they would not send athletes to the Games and as International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today Monday "on the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided."

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday evening the Olympics may have to be postponed if it can't run in "complete form" — the first time he's indicated such a move.
  • He's due to speak over the phone with IOC president President Thomas Bach Tuesday night, per Japan Today.

What they're saying: Team USA said after consulting with athletes that "even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can’t be overcome in a satisfactory manner."

  • The U.S. committee said it's "more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising."
  • "[W]e encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors," it added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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