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International Games
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
IOC Looking for Solution for the Athletes
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it is seeking to find a solution with "the least negative impact for the athletes", after the organization received criticism for its insistence that Tokyo 2020 will go ahead as planned amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC said yesterday there was no need for "any drastic decisions at this stage" in relation to Tokyo 2020.

This is despite more than 204,000 coronavirus cases being reported worldwide and more than 8,200 deaths, leading to countries taking extreme action to halt the spread.

IOC Athletes' Commission member Hayley Wickenheiser claimed the IOC's insistence the Olympics will go ahead as planned was "irresponsible" on Twitter.

In a series of posts, Wickenheiser – who won four Olympic gold medals as part of the Canadian ice hockey team – called not entertaining the idea of a postponement or cancellation "insensitive and irresponsible".

Wickenheiser said "this crisis is bigger than even the Olympics" and that it was "terrible" some athletes did not know where they could train but were still expected to prepare for the Games.

The IOC Athletes' Commission are due to hold a conference call with the Global Network of Athletes' Commission to discuss COVID-19 today.

Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece echoed Wickenheiser's comments, accusing the IOC of leaving athletes "at risk".

Stefanidi added she "would like to see that there is a concern for the risk to our health" and is worried that it may be dangerous for athletes to train at present.

World heptathlon champion Katerina Johnson-Thompson also expressed concerns over having the ability to train for the Games, saying everything but the ultimate deadline of the Olympics had changed.

Johnson-Thompson has returned to Britain from her training base in France, with the country having gone into lockdown as part of measures aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus.
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