The International Olympic Committee remains steadfast in the expectation that the 2020 Tokyo Games will continue as planned. Multiple sporting events and leagues have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, but the upcoming Summer Olympics are still on track. The IOC remains "fully committed" to the 2020 Tokyo Games.
"With more than four months to go before the Games," the IOC said in a statement on Tuesday, "there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage, and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive." IOC spokesman Mark Adams had said in early March that the games will not be canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although there had previously been concerns that the pandemic would disrupt the highly-anticipated events. Some fans believed that the Games would ultimately be canceled.
According to Yahoo Sports, 57 percent of athletes have already qualified for the Olympic Games. "The IOC will work with the international federations to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualifying systems" for the remaining 43 percent.
While the prevailing belief is that the Games will proceed as planned, there is still a scenario in which they are canceled. IOC member Dick Pound previously explained that a decision could be made as late as May. He still called for the athletes to continue training with the expectation that they will be heading to Tokyo in the summer.
"As far as we all know, you're going to be in Tokyo," Pound said. "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."
There have been some alterations made to the pre-Games schedule due to coronavirus concerns. One example is the Olympic torch handover ceremony on Thursday. This traditional event at Panathenaic Stadium in central Athens – the site of the 1896 Summer Olympics – will be held without fans.
The torch relay has been a critical part of the pre-Games process and has previously been attended by thousands of fans. However, the remainder was canceled following the lighting of the torch in Sparta. Crowds were on hand to watch actor Gerard Butler take part in the traditional ceremony.0comments
The IOC is making adjustments to the upcoming schedule of events as the world adapts to the latest coronavirus updates, but they do not plan on canceling the 2020 Tokyo Games. They still believe that late July and early August will be marked by multiple nations competing for a spot on the podium.
(Photo Credit: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)