USA Swimming Asks USOPC to Advocate for Postponing Tokyo Olympics

USA Swimming has asked the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee to advocate for postponing the 2020 Olympics in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization told SwimSwam. CEO Tim Hinchey sent USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland a letter Friday laying out the situation, asking for a one-year postponement.

“As a leader to our 400,000 members and many of the world’s top Olympic champions, I feel compelled to speak out about the pending Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2020,” Hinchey wrote. “The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations. It has transcended borders and wreaked havoc on entire populations, including those of our respected competitors. Everyone has experienced unimaginable disruptions, mere months before the Olympic Games, which calls into question the authenticity of a level playing field for all. Our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness should be among the highest priorities. It is with the burden of these serious concerns that we respectfully request that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by one year.”

“We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes,” Hinchey concluded.

The letter was sent after holding a conference call with the U.S. National Team to update swimmers on the situation, Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde reported. 

USA Swimming published the letter in full on Twitter:

The ask comes as numerous national governing bodies around the world have been forced to postpone or cancel their Olympic trials, while the Internationa Olympic Committee largely maintained it would move forward with planning for the Games as scheduled. In a conference call Friday morning, the USOPC said that it would follow the IOC’s lead.

Thursday, United States Olympian Jacob Pebley penned a lengthy Instagram post calling on USA Swimming to postpone Olympic Trials and ask the USOPC to work on postponing the Olympics. His sentiment was widely lauded among athletes (and coaches) who are experiencing significant disruptions to their training cycles as pools are shuttering and checkpoint competitions are being canceled.

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Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
2 years ago

I recommend all countries who ask for postponement devote money to Japanese organizers to help cover all the costs involved in postponing, and to show they really care about the whole world instead of just their own interests. The outbreak of Covid-19 is not Japan’s fault and It’s not their athletes who request one more year to prepare, so you can’t let them afford all the costs.

Coach
2 years ago

This is the right thing to do, but they need to plead their case to the World Health Organization. We are going to spin our wheels while we wait on the IOC.

Mean Dean
2 years ago

A step in the right direction. Hopefully this is fruitful

Swimmer
2 years ago

Just a thing to consider: If trials were to be moved due to postponement of the olympics, how would qualification change, specifically new people? USA swimming specifically shortened the qualifying period for this cycle and to give a whole new year for qualification may increase qualifiers way above the numbers wanted?

David Berkoff
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

Details for a later date. Let’s get the Games postponed first!

Laura
2 years ago

Just throwing this out there: as I am no longer able to train for trials and no racing for the foreseeable future, I donated blood for the first time in my life this week. Many regular blood donors are older and now in self isolation, yet people continue to need blood transfusions to survive every day emergencies and health conditions. We have a country full of athletes who are now capable of doing this safely. I’m not a known swimmer, I have no platform to shout this message from; but what an impact we could make across the country if someone with a platform did start getting this messaging out there…..

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Laura
2 years ago

Laura – You might not be a “known swimmer” but you are a hero, champion and wonderful voice for others to hear. Thank you for being a HUMAN DOING.

Laura
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
2 years ago

Lol, thank you, though my point of not being known was that I personally CANNOT mobilize the hundreds of thousands of athletes who could give blood right now the way swimswam or our Olympians could… so I’m just trying to get a bug in someone’s ear.

Swimswam, I’d happily write an article on this and nutrition tips for being prepared (I am a registered dietitian) as I almost threw up and was about to pass out (came from a long stressful day at work where I didn’t pack enough food/water and donated on a last second whim after seeing our state asking for donations). I also think it would be good for athletes to direct their energy towards DOING something… Read more »

Sir Swimsalot
2 years ago

The right call, hats off to them for doing the right thing

Nswim
2 years ago

USA swimming is one of the leading Olympic sports bodies, I feel as though this was a good step to have these desires heard.

Alec Scott
2 years ago

I appreciate Tim advocating for our top athletes. They deserve to compete at their best, as does everyone who qualified for Trials.

I also feel for all the athletes whose careers have been cut short by this. A tough situation all around.

Eagleswim
Reply to  Alec Scott
2 years ago

On the list of reasons there shouldn’t be a two-week-long massive international cultural event happening this summer… preparation levels of the athletes isn’t super close to the top of my list

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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