IOC Member Dick Pound: 2020 Olympics Will Be Postponed Due to COVID-19

According to International Olympic Committee member and former Canadian swimmer Dick Pound, the committee has decided to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, USA Today’s Christine Brennan reported Monday.

Pound said that the postponement will likely be until 2021, with “details to be worked out in the next four weeks.”

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

“It will come in stages,” he added. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”

Sunday, the committee announced it would set a four-week deadline to make a decision. When asked about Pound’s comments, spokesperson Mark Adams said:  “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC executive board which was announced yesterday.”

Athletes worldwide have started to lobby for a postponement. Over the weekend, National Olympic Committees began signaling they would either heavily push for postponement, or refuse to bring their athletes to Tokyo.

Pound, notably, already made headlines this year when he said in February that the IOC would have until May to decide the Games’ fate and that a full cancelation was more likely than a postponement. His comments were widely disputed by other officials.

Update: on a radio appearance shortly after his comments to USA Today became public, Pound issued further context. 

“If they’re going to cancel the Games as one extreme, you don’t have to wait four weeks to do that,” Pound said, as reported by Sports Illustrated. “You just cancel it and put everybody out of their misery. If you’re carrying on with your original plan of July 24th, you don’t need to issue anything because you’ve been talking that way and dealing with the press and elsewhere with that. If you look at the only alternative in the middle of that, it’s the p-word. Postponement is on the table. It’s really a question of whether you postpone by a year or you try and see whether you can squeeze this in at the end of 2020 but with the curve on the COVID virus heading almost straight up, it’s just so unlikely that I think you’re looking at a year. In Japan, you’ve got the prime minister advising the Japanese public that it looks like they won’t be able to proceed as planned and that a postponement may be likely – along with the support of 69% of his constituents that prefer to have a postponement.”

He further walked back his initial take:

“I think the only rational conclusion from all that is we’re talking postponement and you need the four weeks that they mentioned to come up with an alternative,” Pound said. “You can’t just say, ‘We’re going to postpone.’ Because that relieves none of the uncertainty that’s out there. We’re going to take four weeks and we’ll come up and we’re going to give you as much of a Plan B as much as we can at that time.”

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2 years ago

So it is done. #Tokyo2021

2 years ago

How do you think USA trials will work now, they cant allow another year to qualify if they want to keep the meet size small. Do you think they will then give athletes only a few months before the Olympics(if its not in 2021) time to qualify and all cuts as of now are no longer valid?

2 years ago

Why aren’t the USA Trials cancelled yet? Want my ticket refund.

2 years ago

And just like that Dick Pound has restored everyone’s faith in the IOC.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

Actually, not quite…. But at least for THIS decision, yes.

Irish Ringer
2 years ago

That’s a good one. Make fun of a world economy in collapse because not everyone believes we should stay quarantined for 18 months. I’m sure all the people who have lost their job or will soon are laughing with Steve Nolan.

2 years ago

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” – Acts 16:31

Flee the wrath to come.

2 years ago

Richard Pound was very strong swimmer. He was 6th 100m freestyle 1960 Rome olympics.

Reply to  Kristiina
2 years ago

He was also the only Canadian to make he 100m free final at the Olympics until Brent Hayden in 2012

Bo Swims
Reply to  Dudeman
2 years ago

Wrong. Check 96

Reply to  Bo Swims
2 years ago

Canada’s Stephen Clarke finished 15th overall in 1996. He was 7th in the B Final.–_Men%27s_100_metre_freestyle

Reply to  Boknows34
2 years ago

Sorry, the only Canadian to make the A final at the olympics until Hayden in 2012. I’m sure most people knew what I meant when I said “final” since the B finals haven’t happened for a while now

2 years ago

I’m going to go ahead and throw my money on Carson foster making it to the Olympics now! Taking bets, I have $100 on him making 2 maybe 3..

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swimfish87
2 years ago

Have to like Sean Casas’ chances now, too.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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