Norway and Brazil's Olympic committees — alongside the USA Swimming and Track and Field teams — are joining the call for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to be postponed, due to the novel coronavirus.
The latest: The Brazilian Olympic Committee called on Saturday for the games to be postponed until 2021, citing rising infection rates and "the consequent difficulty for athletes to maintain their best competitive level due to the need to stop training and competitions in global scale."
Taro Aso, Japan's deputy prime minister, said Wednesday that holding the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo "would not make sense" if other countries cannot send their athletes, while the government's top spokesperson insisted the Games were still on, per Reuters.
Why it matters: Though numerous sports leagues around the world have suspended their seasons in response to the pandemic, Japan, which has only 882 confirmed coronavirus cases, remains on track to host the games as scheduled in July even as the pandemic expands across the world.
11-year-old Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza is set to become the youngest athlete at the Tokyo Olympics — and fifth-youngest Olympian in history — after winning a qualification tournament last week.
Fun fact: Hend will likely not be the only 11-year-old at the Games, with pro skateboarder Sky Brown — who is about five months older — expected to compete for Team Great Britain.
The novel coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and has begun impacting a slew of international sporting events as the window to prevent a global pandemic narrows.
The state of play: The alpine skiing World Cup Finals and major Italian cycling races were canceled on Friday as the coronavirus continues to spread, AP reports. The Italian government has mandated all sporting events take place without spectators through April 3.
Running in her first-ever sanctioned marathon, Molly Seidel took second place at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials to secure one of three spots on the U.S. women's team for the Tokyo Games.
The backdrop: Seidel was a four-time champion at Notre Dame, but she'd been off the grid since 2016. She revealed her battles with an eating disorder and other mental and physical ailments in a lengthy piece on Runner's World.
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.
Why it matters: Kipchoge and Kosgei were both wearing Nike's controversial Vaporfly sneakers, which many believed would be banned because of the performance boost provided by a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole that acted as a spring and saved the runner energy.
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.
After recent Olympics in Russia, South Korea and Brazil struggled with attendance, tickets to this summer's Tokyo Games, which open July 24, are selling like gangbusters.
Demand in the U.S.: Another batch of U.S.-market tickets were released yesterday after the previous batches in June, July and October all sold out within three hours. (Just checked online, almost every event is sold out).
The International Olympic Committee issued a set of guidelines on Thursday to strengthen a rule that bars athletes from certain forms of political protest at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
What they're saying... The Committee warns: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."