As professional sports leagues around the globe have suspended its seasons and continue to take proactive measures against the coronavirus pandemic, the Summer Olympics is still planning on moving forward with the games in Tokyo this summer.
The International Olympic Committee released a statement on Tuesday that said, “the IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counterproductive.”
The IOC’s statement falls in line with Japans’s Olympic minister, who said the country is planning a “complete” staging of the Games, which are scheduled to take place from July 24 to Aug. 9
While the Games remain months away, the tone and direction the IOC has some concerned due to training preparations, qualifying games and events and other travel necessary for athletes to properly prepare themselves for the Olympics.
On Wednesday, gold medalist pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi of Greece told Reuters that the IOC is “putting us at risk.”
“There is no postponement, no cancellation,” she said. “But [the IOC] is putting us at risk. We all want Tokyo to happen but what is the Plan B if it does not happen? Knowing about a possible option has a major effect on my training because I may be taking risks now that I would not take if I knew there was also a possibility of a Plan B.”
Four-time rowing gold medalist Matthew Pinsent also called out the IOC president as “tone deaf” in a tweet.
“The instinct to keep safe (not to mention obey govt instructions to lock down) is not compatible with athlete training, travel and focus that a looming Olympics demands of athletes, spectators, organisers etc. Keep them safe. Call if off.”
Hayley Wickenheiser, a former Canadian hockey gold medalist and committee member of the IOC, was also critical of the organization’s stance with a tweet:
“From an athlete perspective, I can only imagine and try to empathize with the anxiety and heartbreak athletes are feeling right now.
"Athletes can't train, attendees can't travel plan. Sponsors and marketers can't market with any degree of sensitivity. I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”