This was announced on Sunday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which leaves itself a four-week timetable in order to be able to study and decide the question once and for all, as to whether the Games will indeed take place as planned in Tokyo in July.
In an open letter to the athletes, IOC President Thomas Bach wrote that “human life takes precedence over everything”.
Over the next few days, the IOC will, therefore, be studying the question of presenting the games or not with the Japanese leaders. A decision to this effect will be taken within a month.
“We have started discussions with all partners to draw up an inventory of the rapid development of the health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a postponement scenario (for the Olympic Games, Editor’s note)”, wrote Mr. Bach in an open letter to athletes. “We are confident that we will have finalized these discussions in the next four weeks.”
The IOC said in a statement that a cancellation “is not on the agenda”.
It must be said that the Tokyo Games are already the games of controversy; Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, several speakers have said that it would be irresponsible, in the current context, to proceed as if nothing had happened.
In a telephone interview with La Presse on Sunday, Jean-Luc Brassard, a former freestyle skier and gold medalist at the Lillehammer Games, expressed his skepticism about this decision by the IOC.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. We postpone the decision in four weeks and we will ask the athletes to wait and continue training during this time, which represents a risk. We ask everyone to do their part during this crisis and it would be good to see the IOC take the lead and set an example. It will not be the end of the world if we postpone the Games for a year. There is a global issue that must be dealt with first. ”
Among other criticisms in recent days, ex-Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, has spared no effort the IOC in this dossier, declaring last week that “the insistence of the IOC Is insensitive and irresponsible. “
Around the world, the biggest sports leagues have already suspended their activities due to this crisis which has not spared the world of sport.
On Saturday, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced the outright cancellation of its annual World Championship tournament, citing security reasons. The popular world ice hockey tournament, which attracts dozens of NHL players each year, was slated to take place in Switzerland in May. This decision comes at a time when the world hockey leagues are already stopped, including the NHL, which has suspended its activities since March 12.
Several other sports circuits in the world, including major baseball, the NBA and the Premier League soccer in England, also had to suspend their activities due to COVID-19.
The Olympic Games in modern history have never been postponed due to a pandemic or other humanitarian crisis, although they have been cancelled five times due to the First World War and the Second World War.
For the time being, the Tokyo Games must be presented from July 24 to August 9.