The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chief executive Sarah Hirshland, received a letter from the federation which asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to delay the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that is scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9.
"We certainly understand the ramifications of this request, and the realities of trying to coordinate the logistics of a postponed Olympic Games around the schedules of other athletes, sport federations, key stakeholders etc, but the alternative of moving forward in light of the current global situation would not be in the best interest of our athletes (as difficult as that decision might be)," USATF chief executive Max Siegel stated in the above mentioned letter.
The track and field federation of the US joined another front-running US sport body named USA Swimming for seeking the delay of the Games. Neither the US Olympic officials nor the IOC were available to comment on the above mentioned request.
VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
Athlete representatives of the US Olympic and Paralymic Committee (USOPC) hosted a virtual town hall on Saturday night of nearly 300 prospective Olympians. Athletes were invited to share their thoughts on how the coronavirus was affecting their training and whether they thought the Olympics should proceed as scheduled, or be postponed or cancelled.
In a poll at the end of the two-hour discussion, 25 percent wanted the Games to go on as scheduled, 41 percent voted no and another 34 percent needed more information. The online meeting follows the US committee's call on Friday for athletes to continue their preparations amid the coronavirus pandemic. But many athletes from various sports said that was impossible given the public lockdown in parts of the country, and expressed frustration at being told to carry on training given the logistical difficulties.
IOC wants Games on schedule
Meanwhile, the IOC has pressed on during the health crisis, saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled. The issue has sharply divided athletes globally and USATF said no decision should be made at the expense of the safety and well-being of our athletes.
"We acknowledge that there are no perfect answers, and that this is a very complex and difficult decision, but this position (to postpone the Games) at least provides our athletes with the comfort of knowing that they will have adequate time to properly prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to participate in a safe and successful Olympic Games," it said. "We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes."
(With agency inputs)