Olympics postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

International Olympic Committee officials announced Tuesday its decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until a date to be determined in 2021.


The decision, which was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, drew reactions from athletes and sports federations across the world:


Carli Lloyd, U.S. women's national team soccer player and three-time Olympian, on WPVI-TV in Philadelphia: "It's bigger than an Olympics. I definitely think it's the right call. Disappointed... but I think for the safety of everybody, it's definitely the best thing."


U.S. Olympic 1,500-meter runner Ben Blankenship: "I'm glad they did make it. I think the writing was a little bit on the wall. Especially when Australia and Canada both came out and said they weren't going to send teams, I think it was a little ominous. I don't think there was any choice. You would put the athletes, fans, coaches and volunteers at risk of traveling. Right now for the majority of volunteers, they're a little older. I think when you start saying in three months, two months, you're going to have to be leaving your house and be active and come in contact with tourists, that's a tough one? If you push down the tracks even more and say we hold the Olympics but without fans, I think that might take away some of the excitement of the games."


Statement from Sarah Hirschland, U.S. Olympic and Paralymic Committee CEO, to U.S. athletes: "Despite the feeling of eventuality that so many of us have felt in the lead up to this moment- my heart breaks for you, your fellow athletes around the world, our friends at Tokyo 2020, the people of Japan, and all who are impacted by this global pandemic and the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games 2020.


"We heard your concerns and we shared them. I thank you for being so forthcoming with your perspectives, and also for allowing us the time to hear from your teammates across all sports before making a recommendation to the IOC.


"With this decision, the work of planning a new version of the Tokyo Games is now officially underway."


Statement from international track federation (World Athletics): "It is what athletes want and we believe this decision will give all athletes, technical officials and volunteers some respite and certainty in these unprecedented and uncertain times."


International swimming federation (FINA) statement: "...Following today's joint announcement by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizers, concerning the postponement of the Olympic Games for 2021, FINA will now work closely with the host organizing committee of the 2021 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, with the Japan Swimming Federation and with the Japanese public authorities, in order to determine flexibility around the dates of the competition, if necessary and in agreement with the IOC.


International Union of the Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) President Dr Klaus Schormann: "We are living in extraordinary times and we must all take drastic action to combat this Coronavirus, with collective responsibility for public health and the preservation of life.


"The crisis has escalated in recent days and weeks, especially in Europe, and the restrictions on travel and training imposed in many countries mean we can no longer ask athletes to continue preparing for competitions in May and June 2020.


"The IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee have the full support of UIPM in their decision to postpone the Olympic Games, which has been held every four years since London 1948.


Statement from International Table Tennis Federation President Thomas Weikert: "As partners of the IOC since 1988, we at the ITTF have lived very good times. We have grown as an Olympic sport and, more than ever, we are here to say that we wholeheartedly support today's IOC decision. We are conscious of how difficult it is to deal with the organization of a quadrennial event of such magnitude as the Olympic and Paralympic Games."


International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach: "This Olympic flame will be the light at the end of the tunnel."


International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons: "Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do. The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.