UPDATE 23/03/2020: after reporting that the tokyo olympics 2020 will go on planned even as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, japan has finally acknowledged that july’s games might have to be postponed.


the international olympic committee (IOC) has said a delay was being considered as pressure grows from athletes and sports bodies. addressing parliament today, prime minister shinzo abe said that the games may need to be postponed if the event cannot be held in its ‘complete form’ due to the coronavirus pandemic. he added that cancellation is not an option.


‘if it is difficult to hold the games in such a way, we have to decide to postpone them, giving top priority to the well-being of the athletes,’ he said. ‘although the IOC will make a final decision, we are of the same view that cancellation is not an option.’


last week, the international olympic committee (IOC) reiterated that the 2020 olympics games in tokyo games would not be cancelled. an official press release stated that the IOC remained fully committed to the event, and that with more than four months to go, there was no need for any imminent decision as they believe current speculation is counter-productive.


‘the IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the tokyo olympics 2020 as best they can,’ said the press release. ‘we will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the athlete365 website and via their respective NOCs and IFs.’


the IOC said that they are confident that the measures taken by the authorities around the world would help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus. they also welcomed the support of the G7 leaders, as expressed by japanese prime minister shinzō abe: ‘I want to hold the olympics and paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G7 leaders.’


since february, a task force composed of the IOC, the world health organization (WHO), the tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the japanese authorities, and the tokyo metropolitan government has been coordinating actions to keep a constant appraisal of the situation. however, in recent days more and more athletes have voiced their concerns about staging the event later this year.


greek pole vaulter katerina stefanidi, who won gold at the 2016 olympics, said on twitter that the IOC was risking the health of athletes, while british athlete katarina johnson-thompson said that maintaining her current training program would be ‘impossible’. hayley wickenheiser, a former ice hockey player who has won four olympic gold medals and is also a member of the IOC, stated her belief that the organization should ‘acknowledge the unknown’.