Japanese Olympic Committee Official Calls For Postponement Of 2020 Games

A member of the Japanese Olympic Committee has said it’s time to postpone this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, publicly going against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and it’s recent statement that the plan was for the Games to go on as scheduled.

Kaori Yamaguchi, a former judo world champion, told the Japanese news outlet “Nikkei” that the IOC is “putting athletes at risk”, and that she plans to argue her position when the Japanese Olympic Committee next meets on March 27.

“As far as I can tell from news reports coming out of the U.S. and Europe, I don’t think the situation allows for athletes to continue training as usual,” Yamaguchi said.

The 55-year-old, who is one of the committee’s 23 executive board members, says that as long as the Games are planned to go on as scheduled, the athletes are inclined to train, which puts them at unnecessary risk amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“By asking them to train under these conditions, the IOC is opening itself up the criticism that it is not putting athletes first,” she said.

In its Tuesday press release, the IOC said: “With more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.”

Over the last 24 hours or so we’ve seen prominent figures in the swimming community start to ask for a postponement of the Games. This includes former US Men’s Olympic Head Coach Bob Bowman, former US National Team director Frank Busch, Italian Swimming Federation president Paolo Barelli, and Swimming Australia published a formal statement asking for a “level playing field”, essentially saying that if the Games were to go on in July, that wouldn’t be the case.

2016 US Olympian Jacob Pebley has also called for USA Swimming to postpone the Olympic Trials, which may not happen until the Games are officially moved back.

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Woke Stasi
6 months ago

Move the Olys back three months to the second half of October (same time of year the 1964 Tokyo games were held). I personally don’t share the doomsday scenarios some others are discussing. Call me too rosy, but I think a lot of this is going to be resolved by the end of April. I think most swimmers can do what they need to do from mid-May to a US Trials in say mid-September. It’s not the ideal training solution, but it’s quite workable considering the conditions.

David Berkoff
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

Woke. Three months is not an adequate amount of time. A year may even be too optimistic. This virus is going to be with us for awhile.

Woke
Reply to  David Berkoff
6 months ago

Stay woke

Woke Stasi
Reply to  David Berkoff
6 months ago

As of today, in the whole United States there have been 219 deaths (many of whom had other conditions). There are 15,714 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 99.9+% are considered “mild.” I live in a Bay Area county where the population has been told to shelter in place. We will be fine. We will get through this. In the big scheme of things, the Olys are small potatoes. Have them in October, have them in 2021, or cancel them altogether. More worrisome to me is the idea of shutting down our entire economy and the long run dangers that may have for many, many people.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

This is just going to be getting started in April.

We either get ubiquitous testing, a vaccine, or we keep quarantined. Median timeframe on those things is about a year, IMO.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

So STEVE NOLAN is suggesting and OK with a year quarantine?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Irish Ringer
6 months ago

idk, how many people do you want to die?

A vaccine should be available in 12-18 months. Keeping quarantined like this can be cyclical, but for a bit longer than that. Testing capabilities *should* pick up faster than those two, but I haven’t seen as many good estimates there so maybe we’re able to turn that around in a couple months. Shake that all together, and yeah, seems like it’ll take about a year.

Justin Thompson
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Couldn’t you say that with anything? You can’t stay holed up for 12-18 months on something that may be slightly more dangerous than the flu when it’s all said and done. In 2009 when 60 million in the US were were infected with Swine Flu, 300k hospitalized and 18k dead should we have locked everyone up for 12-18 months because we didn’t do anything along those lines. 3300 people a day die in automobile accidents, should we ban that too?
Also, 12-18 months of this will result in complete financial collapse and social unrest. What kind of life is that?

Teddy
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

The states are just entering the exponential growth phase

It’s quite probable that by the end of the month there will be over 500k cases and and over 10k deaths

Use that data from worldometer to do the calculations if you like. Remember that it is not linear

anon
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

1.3% of known cases have died in the United States, let alone deaths rates in Italy and Spain which excede 5%. How can you say 99.9% of cases are mild when 3% die? If you think this will be over by April I want some of what you’re having.

Justin Thompson
Reply to  anon
6 months ago

Until reliable testing is widely available we don’t have a good idea what the true fatality rates are. If you tested 100% of the population the numbers would go down dramatically.

Landrew
Reply to  Justin Thompson
6 months ago

Even a mortality rate of 3% among positive tests is a very serious illness. But you should take all statistics in relation to this pandemic with a very large grain of salt. China isn’t exactly known for being forthright with information, and the US has not done a very good job (in my eyes) of contextualizing anything in relation to sick numbers and death totals.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Landrew
6 months ago

The mortality rate is highly dependent on the capacity of the surrounding healthcare system – I think in Wuhan, where they were overwhelmed, it was somewhere near 6%, while the rest of China was under 1%.

It is also pretty dependent on testing, so it’s hard to say what the actual mortality rate is. All I know is, it’s far, far too high.

Boknows34
Reply to  anon
6 months ago

The much higher death rate in Spain and Italy tells me there are very likely to be a huge number of unconfirmed cases, either due to lack of testing or those with mild symptoms are choosing to self isolate without a test.

Germany has 18,800 confirmed cases but only 53 dead. Spain by comparison has 20,400 confirmed cases but just over 1,000 dead. There is no reason why there should be such a large gap in death rate between these two countries. Spain’s true number of cases is likely to be currently 100s of thousands.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

She’s not wrong though. This virus is serious no doubt, but its been stagnant in China for weeks now. April/May could be optimistic, but not out of the question.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Irish Ringer
6 months ago

Their lockdowns are probably far more severe than we’re able to do here: https://twitter.com/TIME/status/1240889102804889600

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

Agree mostly with Woke. If we keep this up for months on end, the economic impact will be far more destructive than the virus. Need to keep things in perspective.

spectatorn
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

Agree that in the big scheme of things, so many of the worry is secondary.

a pretty good video that describe the symptoms and how it impact/affect the body.
https://youtu.be/OOJqHPfG7pA

Woke Stasi
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

Again, I’m more optimistic about how this will play out. That’s my nature. Will the world be “risk-free”? Of course not. In my career, I’ve been an entrepreneur, an inventor, and a small business owner. Risk is part of the game, and I’ve tried to do what I could make things work out in my favor — but it doesn’t always work out that way. In terms of my health, I’ve tried to reduce my risk factors: I don’t smoke or drink. I eat few processed foods. I work out regularly. I spend my time with positive people. I believe all of these promote a healthy immune system (but I realize that bad things could still happen). Perhaps a silver… Read more »

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

“We are gathered here today to mourn Gary. If only he would have stuck to the #riseandgrind lifestyle, COVID-19 wouldn’t have killed him. smdh.”

Anonymoose
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

The only right thing about that comment was the last 4 letters. Yes smdh very much, what a retarded joke was that? That’s not what stasi said at all

Texas mom
Reply to  Anonymoose
6 months ago

@Anonymooose it’s 2020. Spread the word to end the word. Please don’t use the R word.

Teddy
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

I think that’s what’s underlying a lot of the misunderstanding in the US

Optimistic narratives feel a lot better so people are willing to buy into them.

As far as statistical predictions go, the growth rate in cases and deaths of this are really easy to model—smooth data with very little noise.

So far the R2 on even simple models is like 0.95. For reference, in ecology people consider 0.3-0.5 acceptable for R2

It’s worrisome because if people aren’t prepared for the numbers they are likely to see over the next week it could lead to panic as reality rears its ugly head

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

Not exactly sure why you’re getting downvote ratio’d, but you’re absolutely right here.

Teddy
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 months ago

It is tough to grasp how fast an exponential increase starts moving, without the experience of looking at those numbers. The first bit can look pretty linear and then then it explodes 2 to the power of 1 all the way through 2 to the power of 10 only brings you to 1024 at what looks more like a linear rate But, 2 to the power of 11 all the way through 2 to the power of 20 brings you to 1,048,576 Since the US has such a large population the carrying capacity for how many people can have the disease is enormous. In just over a week, it seems possible that the US will be having around 80,000 new… Read more »

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Teddy
6 months ago

I think every day is proving more and more that the “carrying capacity” really doesn’t matter, given how mild this actually is for a rather significant population. We’re starting to develop a pretty definitive, predictable patterning within what defines “high-risk population” as it pertains to severe cases. I get we need to keep an eye out for hospital beds, etc, but I think we’re already to the point that we can take proper precautions for those in that “high risk” area while not destroying the economy and still moving forward as a species (and yes, the economical risks will most definitely affect the species in a more long-term outlook both financially and health-related if we don’t make changes closer to… Read more »

Teddy
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 months ago

It’s a bit of a dubious precedent to set for a government—that they can favour the economy over the health of citizens.

But I don’t think it’s an easy question in this case, the financial fallout and civil unrest from the shutdown is extremely worrying

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Teddy
6 months ago

Sure, but it’s one that leaders are going to have to make at some point very soon.

And it’s really not unprecedented. At some point, leaders of the free world have had to make decisions of some lives over others quite a bit. It sucks, it really does, but sometimes there’s only two choices: bad, and really bad. Currently, IMHO, we’re choosing the one that leads to “really bad” rather than just “bad”.

Teddy
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 months ago

Yeah, that’s the real question.

Kind if have a better idea of the impact of the disease at this point, but the range of scenarios from the shutdown—I doubt they can really even be projected

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Teddy
6 months ago

https://medium.com/six-four-six-nine/evidence-over-hysteria-covid-19-1b767def5894

That article is a much more comprehensive, data-driven explanation of what I’m saying. And honestly an article every human on the planet should read.

Teddy
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 months ago

Thanks for the article DRSWIMPHIL

It helped relax me a bit, I hope this is all correct and things taper off

Swimer
Reply to  Woke Stasi
6 months ago

We are NOT staying in quarantine for a year. The point of social-distancing/shelter in place is to lower the curve so that when we get hit hardest we still have enough hospital beds. The purpose isn’t to get rid of the virus entirely. The virus itself isn’t what’s dangerous. Its the fact that we don’t want everyone to have it at the same time.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Swimer
6 months ago

So, those “flatten the curve” graphs you see most places – they don’t really tend to have numbers on the axes, right? That’s both good and bad.

To keep the curve flat enough that it doesn’t overwhelm capacity, quarantining may very well take more than a year.

sven
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Yeah.. even if we flatten the curve, we’re still going to make an absolute mockery of our capacity.

Ervin
6 months ago

ooooooh gurrrl

MileHighSwim
6 months ago

Is it too much to postpone the games until 2021? This gives athletes time to prepare and be at their best when things start to return to normal in the coming months. I’m sure it’ll put many athletes at ease knowing they will be able to train properly for their trails as well.

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  MileHighSwim
6 months ago

A lot could happen in a year. Just compare the results of 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Champs.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
6 months ago

Yeah but…decades of things are going to happen in the next year.

MileHighSwim
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
6 months ago

Not saying we won’t see new faces or what not, but it’ll be a more honest attempt at competition at the highest level. Perhaps the 2020 Olympics never happens, but a postponement will allow all parties to judge and plan on how to train and compete in a safe and smart manner. Hopefully.

DbSwims
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
6 months ago

@CaelebDressel

Kristiina
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
6 months ago

No. Since 2019 qualifing period began.. A-standards breakers. Top2 A-standards breakers each country all disciplines.

Kristiina
Reply to  Kristiina
6 months ago

Dressel is breaks A-standards all own main events and TOP1 in US. No problem.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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