Feb 25, 2020 - Sports

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

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."

Go deeper: CDC issues travel warning as South Korea coronavirus cases near 1,000

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Coronavirus threatens Tokyo Olympics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With the Summer Olympics scheduled to open in Tokyo in less than five months, organizers are grappling with the coronavirus outbreak — and facing questions about whether the games could be moved, postponed, or even canceled.

The backdrop: Japan has closed schools nationwide until late March, and the country's professional baseball league is currently playing preseason games in empty stadiums.

Go deeperArrowFeb 27, 2020 - Sports

Team USA calls for Tokyo Games delay amid coronavirus concerns

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."

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Health

Tokyo Summer Olympics postponed until 2021

Photo: John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images.

The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that the Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The Olympics entail a massive amount of travel, congregating and physical contact — all things that are being discouraged in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Multiple athletes and teams had already called for the committee to postpone the Games, which were scheduled to begin July 24.

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Sports