IOC Chair Kirsty Coventry: “Athletes Want The Olympic Games To Continue”

Retta Race
by Retta Race 49

March 19th, 2020 News

Olympic swimmer-turned-Zimbabwean Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts & Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, posted a statement concerning the most recent meeting of the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission.

As Chairperson of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Coventry’s video posted via Twitter below thanks the over 220 athlete representatives from around the world, as well as IOC President Thomas Bach and IOC experts and who took part in the over 2-hour call conducted yesterday, March 18th.

Per Coventry’s message, during the call athletes expressed concern for Olympic qualification in light of dozens of key competitions across all of sport being cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide outbreak.

However, Coventry says she finds it encouraging that athletes ‘want the Games to continue’ for July and implores them to ‘keep doing what they’re doing.’

The statement about the Olympic Games continuing struck a nerve with several fellow athletes, including Brazilian Bruno Fratus, 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the men’s 50m freestyle.

“Kirsty, as a fellow swimmer and Olympian I’d urge you to reconsider and consult with some other athletes around the world. Not sure if you’re aware of the many athletes like myself incapable of even training,” reads one of three responses from Fratus.

“Also, the advice of “keep doing what you’re doing” seems disconnected with reality when we have world leaders daily on television asking people to stay home and isolate ourselves.”

Finally, Fratus opines, “Postponing the Olympic Games would not only give the world peace of mind but also allow that everyone could prepare properly, ensure fairness and maintain the technical level of the competition. Much love from Brazil #tokyo2021.”

You can read the Twitter thread below.

Zimbabwe’s most-decorated athlete, Coventry collected 7 Olympic medals, including back-to-back 200m backstroke gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games. She also was a mainstay on the World Championships scene, competing at every edition from 2000 through 2016. In Rio, Coventry acted as flag bearer and went on to place 11th in the 100m backstroke and 6th in the 200m backstroke.

Since retiring from competitive swimming after the 2016 Rio Olympics, Coventry has been active on the administration side of sports internationally. In February 2018, Coventry was appointed Chairperson of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and has previously served on the Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), as well as a member of the WADA Athletic Committee.

She was appointed Zimbabwe’s Minister of Sport in the fall of 2018.

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Woke Stasi
1 year ago

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics were held from October 10-24, 1964. That would be a good time for the 2020 ones as well. Nice time of year in east Asia.

Woke Stasi
Reply to  Woke Stasi
1 year ago

US Swimming trials for the 1964 Tokyo Olys were held from August 29-September 3 in Astoria, New York. This could be done at a similar time in 2020 (ten weeks later than currently scheduled).

Camille
Reply to  Woke Stasi
1 year ago

Better.

Jolynn Swimmer
Reply to  Woke Stasi
1 year ago

NBC will have a hard time choosing Olympics or football. Unfortunately so much $ involved in everything.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Woke Stasi
1 year ago

Television ratings weren’t as crucial in 1964. NBC has billions invested and couldn’t afford to isolate its platforms for 17 days during fall with football season — presumably — in full swing. More importantly, the presidential campaign would be in its final weeks. That’s going to be the network priority in mid fall. NBC is nervous anyway because ratings plunged so dramatically from London 2012 to Rio 2016. The most recent fall Olympics was Seoul 1988 and that actually had very good primetime ratings. My cynical side thinks that NBC believes July Olympics would receive a ratings boost with everyone stuck at home.

spectatorn
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

good point, did not think of the everyone stuck at home part for NBC.

But all other sponsors will suffer big time if no spectators allowed / travel to Japan.

Taa
1 year ago

It’s amazing how fast she turned into a sports bureaucrat who is so out of touch with the athletes

Captain Ahab
Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

Let’s stop being mean, negative, and hurtful towards others on the internet. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I think some of these athletes read these comments.

Olympian
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

Everyone is entitled to an opinion no doubt about that, but hard to support and even respect a sell out

spectatorn
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

is she saying “keeping Olympic in July” as her own opinion or is she representing “athletes’ opinion”?

if the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission has surveyed active athletes and this is the result, it would be great to learn more about the data – who are being surveyed, how many survey sent, how many responded, how many sports represents, etc. etc.

Tea rex
Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

Attn: Dean Farris.
You have one month to kick this virus’ butt.
Ready, go!

Admin
Reply to  Tea rex
1 year ago

It’s actually interesting that you bring up Dean Farris. I wonder what athletes like him and others who redshirted to prepare for the Olympics will do if it’s postponed to 2021. Forfeit the year of eligibility? Or just go back and train with their colleges?

Snarky
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

They don’t lose the year of training and they didn’t lose a year of NCAA eligibility with no champs.

sven
1 year ago

Yeah, well people in hell want icewater.

Fratus nailed it. Her statement seems very shortsighted.

Admin
Reply to  sven
1 year ago

My suspicion is that there is a big divide between swimmers and the rest of the Olympic world. The interruptions are far more devastating for swimmers than other sports. I can’t think of many other sports where it will be as hard as it is for swimmer for athletes to find ways to train.

And if we pretend that a delay in the Olympics, that all of the swimmers will just pack up and stay home for 3 months and not continue to fight for training…I think we’re kidding ourselves.

Togger
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I think there must be plenty of other sports affected.

Track and field are okay, but sports ranging from rowing to martial arts via football (soccer) and track cycling all require either specialist (probably closed) facilities access or being very close to other people.

I think it must be at least 50%, not accounting for athletes in countries where lockdown means no athlete can train.

IOC also need to consider what stars will be there. If the NBA, Champions League and Wimbledon reschedule events to during the Olympics will Lebron, Mbappe and Federe be choosing the Olympics?

sven
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Very good point, I hadn’t considered that she was not just talking to swimmers. We are definitely one of the more facility-dependent sports of the summer Olympics, many others can at least do drills or extremely specific S&C work in their backyard or basement. A bit harder for us to even approach specificity (maybe Versa will make a relative killing over the next few months).

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

The worst affected would likely be all the team sports. You can’t congregate as a team, and if you do, you’re likely to wipe it out.

Tm71
Reply to  sven
1 year ago

At this point holding them later in the summer or early fall might be a more viable option than July 2020 or July 2021.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Tm71
1 year ago

Later in the year might be a problem for Open Water or Triathlon. But they could move those to an alternative location, equestrian has done it twice (56 Melbourne, Equestrian was in Stockholm and in 2008 it was in Hong Kong).

Same dates in 2021 is best for everyone.

Admin
1 year ago

Sobering to hear this from Fratus, a pure sprinter…

sven
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 year ago

what if he loses his aerobic base during all this downtime????

Olympian
Reply to  sven
1 year ago

Or strength

Calbearfan
1 year ago

As painful as it will be, a delay of one year is what is needed. It would protect our athletes and coaches who are scrambling to find places to train. Everything needs to shut down but won’t if we have the option of the games in 4 months.

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Calbearfan
1 year ago

If everything shuts down, then everyone dies.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

You should be using the clip of him saying “hoax”

Irish Ringer
Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

#45 most active POTUS of all time in handling this crisis.

Teddy
1 year ago

This statement may age like milk

Snarky
1 year ago

I think Kristi is disconnected from the reality of most athletes! If you can’t train…

IM FAN
1 year ago

Yeah the fact of the matter is most olympic disciples require access to specialized facilities for their world class training, which in many nations affected by the Coronavirus outbreak has become an an impossibility. Well said Fratus. It’s sad to see a former athlete so out of touch with the athletes reality.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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