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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A Salad Fork
11 months ago

The right thing to do. So much uncertainty for the athletes.

Alec Scott
11 months 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.

Reply to  Alec Scott
11 months 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

11 months 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.

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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