Sjostrom, Hosszu & le Clos Discuss Prospect of Tokyo Olympics Cancelation

With speculation swirling that the 2020 Olympics are at risk of cancellation over the coronavirus outbreak, international stars Sarah Sjostrom, Katinka Hosszu and Chad le Clos commented on the situation in an interview with The Associated Press.

At a recent Energy Standard training camp workout in Italy – to which Hosszu, who is coaching herself to Tokyo, was an invited guest – the trio expressed concern at the prospect.

“For the athletes the best (solution) is just to focus on your preparation. … I see the news, but in my mind I’m prepared until it’s on. So I have to be ready,” Hosszu said. “I really can’t even imagine having the Olympics canceled. For athletes, it’s a nightmare… That’s our life — preparing for the biggest event in swimming.”

Tuesday, Canadian Olympic swimmer and International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said that in the case the virus does not get under control, a full cancelation of the Games is more likely than a postponement.

“Honestly there is no really good option if it’s canceled,” Hosszú added. “Postponing is definitely better than altogether cancel.”

Le Clos told the AP that he is a “germaphobe” and will be careful, but added that a postponement could actually be a positive.

“We have to just not shake too many hands, not touch too much stuff,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing that’s happened. Hopefully it can get cured soon and we’re going to proceed to the Olympics.”

“Obviously I don’t want it to be canceled, but if it gets canceled I will train another six months or another year,” Le Clos said. “My approach is not just to Tokyo, I’m looking beyond that.”

Sjostrom chimed it that she is also concerned – she was slated to swim at the City of Milan Trophy this weekend, which was canceled due to the outbreak.

“Of course, it’s definitely on my mind,” Sjöström said. “We are reminded about it every day. I read the news. It’s a bit scary.

“People are traveling so much, even me, so that’s why the virus is spreading,” she added. “I hope we can calm it down very, very soon.”

Energy Standard head coach James Gibson said that he trusted that “the powers that be” to handle the situation. In the coming days, though, he has to decide if the team should head back to Turkey.

“We have an exit strategy. The swimmers themselves are aware what’s going on but that doesn’t change your training,” Gibson said. “You still go train as if you’re going to go and become an Olympic champion. You don’t let go of that.”

As of Wednesday night, according to coronatracker.com, there were over 82,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally – including 453 in Italy – with 2,800 deaths.

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Corn Pop
2 years ago

Japan has closed all schools till April. As our favourite curmudgeon Dick Pound has said , the decision must be made in May. Previous a assessments were a decline after April May but I haven’t seen a recent assessment ..

I have not read any comments by global internet citizens for the Olympics to be given any special consideration.

M d e
2 years ago

I think this could be a blessing in disguise for Swimming with the current development of ISL etc.

If we can shift the focus from the Olympics to meets that are potentially more stable, frequent and lucrative for athletes I think it would be amazing for our elite athletes.

Admin
Reply to  M d e
2 years ago

Maybe, eventually.

But right now, the ‘international’ cycle of Olympics/World Championships are far more lucrative for athletes than the ISL is. The ISL has a long way to go to match that.

Kristiina Allekõrs
2 years ago

I want replace London because very high seismic and tymphoon risks. Covid1-9 is not only danger. If China cannot be eliminated then the Olympic must be made in front of empty stands. Only allow telepeople and judges and servicing staff. 11000 people can be checked yet. The Doha world Athletics championships was in front of the empty stands, and I really missed something. The transmission was good enough. You can have local volunteers who would make a bit of a noise. Chinese athletes who are going to be sent to WADAle must be placed on a three-week quarantine in a specific sports complex in Japan.‎

Floater
2 years ago

Keep the politicians away or we’ll see another 1980. Or, is it too late? My heart goes out to those athletes who train so hard for a four year once in a lifetime opportunity. Maybe there’s too much emphasis on the gold?

Hot Takes
2 years ago

Hot Take: Coronavirus has been way overhyped. Poor air quality could greatly be inflating the death rate in China and many people who get the disease don’t even know they have it making the true severity of the disease somewhat unknown.

Ben
Reply to  Hot Takes
2 years ago

I know multiple people who work in the healthcare industry, and they all say the same thing. The only people who have died from the virus are people who already have compromised immune systems. Same goes for the common cold. In fact, the coronavirus is a family of viruses, the common flue is among them. This outbreak people are panicking over is really just a new strand.

BairnOwl
Reply to  Ben
2 years ago

Yes, but this family also includes SARS and MERS, which have fatality rates of ~10% and ~30% respectively. I think one reason people are freaking out is that this new coronavirus seems to be much more infectious than SARS and MERS and has infected quite a lot of people despite travel bans and China’s stringent lockdowns.

I agree that COVID-19 is overhyped, mostly because its fatality rate is pretty low (compared to some contagious diseases and even its cousins) and that the people who die generally already have another medical condition or are elderly. Since a lot of people with the disease have mild symptoms, I also suspect that the current fatality rate of ~3% might be too high,… Read more »

Ben
Reply to  BairnOwl
2 years ago

Thankfully there hasn’t been a single reported case of SARS worldwide since 2004, and so far they’ve done a great job at containing MERS within the Middle East, save for a brief outbreak in South Korea in 2015.

RUN-DMC
Reply to  BairnOwl
2 years ago

On February 11th, the virus was given a name: SARS-CoV-2 (SARS 2 for short). The disease is named Covid-19. This disease is very similar to SARS. I would expect death rates to be on the same order of magnitude as SARS. But death rates are affected by so many variables. People’s response to the disease has much more effect on the death rate than the disease itself.
We cannot trust what the Chinese government has reported about number of confirmed, number of released, or number of dead. Currently the official death rate is about 3.4%, but the actual death rate is probably higher. We will never have an accurate number, though, due to the difficulty of determining the total… Read more »

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Ben
2 years ago

The virus does not only kill people with compromised immune systems. Chinese doctors in their 20s and 30s are dying.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  RUN-DMC
2 years ago

thats what they say …..but one can report anything without clear proofs today …

Will 37
Reply to  Hot Takes
2 years ago

It is better for one to research and listen if you know nothing you are taking about ffs

Kristiina
Reply to  Hot Takes
2 years ago

Italy fatal rate is very high: 8-9%. Higher than China. Most death 40 years and older people.

Kristiina
Reply to  Kristiina
2 years ago

Covid-19 hits deep breath and lungs and is very long.

carlo
Reply to  Hot Takes
2 years ago

Asians tend to overhype pandemics. They tend to overreact. Even in japan with their decent air quality, you have people wearing masks all over the place and this was before the coronavirus outbreak.

The thing is, most people who are infected dont even know they are infected as all they experience are a mild flu and then they recover. The fatality rate is 2 percent and those who experience severe symptoms have weak immune systems already.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/world/asia/coronavirus-treament-recovery.amp.html&ved=2ahUKEwj0vbiX0PLnAhWzFjQIHX8iDaoQiJQBMAB6BAgKEAQ&usg=AOvVaw0QjPDmZEemRXZMhn2_bAD4&ampcf=1

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  carlo
2 years ago

Agreed ….there must be a hidden agenda going on …..

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Hot Takes
2 years ago

Agreed ..Pollution in China has reached Unbelievable levels like in India & those levels can seriously put people’s immune system in danger …so anything is possible .

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

If the games are cancelled, the ISL would be smart to have the mother of all invites in LCM, including supplementary draft for amateurs.

Steve
2 years ago

It would be very bad for Katinka if the event were cancelled. I hope not.

Yozhik
Reply to  Steve
2 years ago

Poor Little Rich Girl 😀

Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

I hate to say it but I expect the Games will be canceled. They have to err on the side of caution, especially with so many spectators coming from so many places. If there’s any type of high profile outbreak at all within the next couple of months, that will be enough of a trigger.

I remember 2001 when I didn’t want to believe the Ryder Cup would be canceled after 9/11. They did it then quickly shifted the event from odd years to even years. No big deal. I’m not sure many people even remember. Unfortunately that is not viable with the Olympics.

Bottom line far preferable right now to be a Winter Olympian than Summer Olympian

200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

Based on what? Complete conjecture?
We can barely predict tomorrow, let alone 5 months from now. Relax.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
2 years ago

Relax, it’s only an incipient pandemic originating (checks notes) right on top of the venue. Nothing to see here. Just move along.

Yozhik
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
2 years ago

It isn’t five month from now. The decision will be made in May. So it is actually pretty close and with no sign of slowing down the probability of Olympics to be cancelled is high.

Wahooswimfan
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

Despite loss of in person spectator revenues, the games could be held with athletes only and broadcast. Athletes could be isolated by discipline, and, at worst quarantined for 14 days after conclusion of their discipline.

Admin
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if they cancelled the spectators but still held the competitions.

Something to consider: for most, the symptoms are rather mild, like a common cold. Given that most of the competitors are very healthy, and not at high risk of death that way, they could just have an overwhelming team of medical professionals at the venues, test athletes daily, and push forward.

Yozhik
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Yeah, let’s cancel spectators, keep all athletes in isolation cells and replace racing with time trials. Oh, I almost forgot – and no open and closing ceremonies. Who needs them along with this Olympic Flame..
Let’s make Olympic Games a Video games.

Yozhik
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Indeed athletes are young and strong, but what about officials and members of numerous national and Olympic communities. Their banquets and luxury gatherings. You don’t want them to die, do you 😀

FletchMacFletch
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

It’s as much the transmission of the disease as it is the effects on any one person. The athletes may face minimal effects, but some would be contagious upon returning home. Quarantines are designed to stop disease vectors.

Kristina Allekõrs
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

Olympics must organising in London! No cancellation.

Kristiina
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

London 2020 is better. London own all venues..

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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