HONOLULU (KHON2) — Amid the public health concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak, USA Swimming asked the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
USA Swimming Chief Executive Officer Tim Hinchey III came out with a letter and shared it on USA Swimming’s official Twitter account.
“Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime, anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer,” Hinchey wrote.
Hinchey points out that because of current events, both his athletes and even their competitors have struggled to train, saying that it “calls into question the authenticity of a level playing field for all.”
“There are no perfect answers, and this will not be easy; however, it is a solution that provides a concrete path forward and allows all athletes to prepare for a safe and successful Olympic Games in 2021.”
USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland and Committee Chair Susanne Lyons responded to Hinchey’s letter in a statement, saying that while they understand the current circumstances, it’s too soon to make the final call on the date of the Games.
“The USOPC has made it clear that all athletes should put their health and wellness, and the health and wellness of the greater community, above all else at this unprecedented moment. At the same time, and as it relates to the Games, we have also heard from athletes that they want the Olympic and Paralympic community to be very intentional about the path forward – and to ensure that we aren’t prematurely taking away any athletes’ opportunity to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games until we have better clarity,” said Hirshland.
According to Lyons, the committee is relying on advice from the World Health Organization. The USOPC believes that it’s too early to make the final call and that before they do, more data and expert advice will need to be gathered.