International Centre for Olympic Studies

Global Athlete calls on the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee to postpone the Games until the Covid-19 Global Pandemic is under control

22 March 2020: We have heard from hundreds of athletes and today we are calling on both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to place athlete safety and welfare first by postponing the Games until the Covid-19 global pandemic is under control.

As the world unites to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus the IOC and IPC must do the same. To date both organizations have told athletes to continue to train and prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Athletes want to be part of a solution to ensure the Games are a success but under the current global restrictions that are limiting public gatherings as well as closing training facilities and borders, athletes do not have the ability to appropriately prepare for these Games and their health and safety must come first.

Sport has a duty of care to protect their athletes. Public health must be a priority over sporting events. By asking them to carry on as normal and continue to train for these Games clearly puts their physical and mental health at risk.

Athletes want to fulfil their dreams of competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We understand the challenges and costs of delaying the Games and that such a decision is a difficult one.

We all recognize the Games provided a unique ability to bring together countries and unite a divided world. That is why waiting is so important. With meaningful collective athlete engagement, a future Games could act as a celebration showcasing that we all did our part in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic.

Finally, we call on broadcasters (NBC) and sponsors to adopt the same level of duty of care towards athletes by supporting the IOC and the IPC with flexibility and understanding during these uncharted times.

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