"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.
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.
“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. “So irresponsible.” — Britain’s 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith, reacting to the IOC’s move to wait four weeks before making a decision. “Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organisations or professional leagues in that we are four-and-a-half months away from the Games.” — Bach on Friday.
“I don’t think we should have the Olympic Games at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety and a decision on the Olympic Games may become very obvious very quickly in the coming days and weeks.” — World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe to 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.
“We don’t have to make a decision. Our Games are not next week, or two weeks from now. They’re four months from now. So we are affording the IOC the opportunity to gather information and expert advice.” — United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee chairwoman Susanne Lyons.
“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 realize 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.