IOC president ‘fully committed’ to holding Olympics despite Coronavirus

By Patricia Duffy | March 2, 2020
IOC president 'fully committed' to holding Olympics despite Coronavirus
Courtesy IOC

Update: This article was updated on March 2 with a comment on the situation from the International Gymnastics Federation. This article was originally published on February 28.

The IOC president, on behalf of the International Olympic Committee, has made a statement, saying the IOC is “fully committed” to holding the Tokyo Olympics despite the coronavirus outbreak.

IOC President Thomas Bach told Japanese media in a conference call on Thursday that the IOC “is fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24.”

This comes as worldwide panic over the coronavirus seems to be at an all-time high. Although, it’s important to note, media headlines and precautionary measures taken by countries seem to be exaggerating the threat.

Japan is one of those countries taking preventative steps to halt the spread of the virus. The country has closed all schools–which impacts approximately 13 million students–until the end of the school year in late March.

This comes as the World Health Organization says the global outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and has “pandemic potential”.

On the gymnastics front, Chinese athletes already missed the Melbourne World Cup, which had Olympic qualification implications. Now, USA Gymnastics has confirmed to Gymnastics Now that the Russian delegation will not attend American Cup, which is scheduled for March 7. According to Russian news outlet TASS, they will not attend the Tokyo World Cup either.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) does seem to have a plan B in place in case portions of the Olympic qualification process are unable to happen, but it is not clear how individual countries, who are rightfully putting their athletes’ health first, will be impacted.

Gymnastics Now reached out to the FIG to see if the Olympic qualification process would be changed or modified in light of current health concerns. The international governing body for gymnastics responded with the following statement:

“At this point in time there is no change. However, the FIG is in contact with the IOC regarding the World Cups that are qualifying for the Games. We will communicate on any updates.”