On or off? Who's saying what over Tokyo Olympics postponement

AFP

Paris (AFP) - As the deadly coronavirus spreads around the globe, doubts grow over whether the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will go ahead as scheduled from July 24 to August 9.

AFP Sport looks at who's saying what:

"It may become inevitable that we make a decision to postpone."

-- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday.

"Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games."

-- International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, announcing on Sunday that a postponement was under consideration and a decision would be announced within four weeks.

"So irresponsible."

-- Britain's 200m world champion sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, reacting to the IOC's move to keep athletes waiting four weeks before making a decision.

"This is not solely about athlete health -- it is about public health."

-- Canadian Olympic Committee, announcing a pull-out from the 2020 Games on Monday and calling for a postponement.

"It's clear the Games can't be held in July."

-- Australian chef de mission Ian Chesterman, telling Australian athletes to prepare instead for a postponed Olympics in 2021

"Whilst we all know that different parts of the world are at different stages of the virus, the unanimous view across all our areas is that an Olympic Games in July this year is neither feasible nor desirable."

-- World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe in a letter to the IOC

"It is mind-bogglingly complex to make a sudden change after seven years of preparation for the biggest sporting event in the world."

-- Former head of marketing at the IOC Michael Payne told AFP.

"It (a postponement) is not only best from a performance statement for the athletes, but also for what these athletes are going through right now in terms of their mental health."

-- Bob Bowman, the coach who guided swimming great Michael Phelps to 28 Olympic medals -- 23 of them gold.

"The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family's health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months."

-- Greece's Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi.

"I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity."

-- Hayley Wickenheiser, a Canadian IOC member and a four-time Olympic ice hockey gold medallist.

"Starting to feel a little worried about how the Olympic Games are being treated in respect to the athletes. We keep being told the Olympic Games are happening. Starting to realise it's more important to have the games go on than the athletes be prepared or mentally healthy."

-- US world champion fencer Race Imboden on Twitter.

"It should be postponed under the current situation where athletes are not well prepared."

-- Japanese Olympic Committee executive board member Kaori Yamaguchi, a former Olympic judoka.

"Our clear recommendation is that the Olympic Games in Tokyo shall not take place before the COVID-19 situation is under firm control on a global scale."

-- Norwegian Olympic Committee statement.

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