Dawn Staley Calls Olympic Postponement The Right Decision

Chaunte'l Powell

After mounting pressure from a number of countries, the International Olympic Committee made the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe arranged a conference call with the IOC on Tuesday and proposed the Games be moved to 2021.

Dawn Staley, head coach of USA Basketball Women’s National Team and the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team, issued the following statement regarding the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games:

“Like so many of the decisions we are making right now, this was a difficult one to hear, but absolutely the right one to make,” she said. “Postponing the Olympics is a significant measure, but one that brings relief for all the athletes and coaches who know that we need and are praying that we get enough time and distance to see COVID-19 end. Now is the time for all of us to focus on those who are being impacted by the virus in a much bigger way than sports. My heart and my prayers go out to them and to those who are in our communities fighting off and finding a way to end COVID-19.”

Staley won three gold medals as a player and this will be her first trip to the Olympics as head coach.

Staley spoke to her hometown paper The Inquirer and said she understood the need to protect the athletes and coaches as she herself go sick as an assistant coach in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil during the time of the Zika outbreak.

“The last time, in Rio, I got sick. I came back with, like, pericarditis," Staley told The Inquirer.

When Staley returned home from the Rio Games she was diagnosed with the inflammation of the tissue around the heart. During her Inquirer interview she said she added she want her own health to be at risk.

“I do not want to go into a danger zone and possibly contract something we don’t have an answer for," she said.. “I just [recently] stopped taking the medicine.”

The official announcement comes one day after IOC member Dick Pound told the press that the decision has been made to postpone them amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While details are not finalized, Pound said it will at least be in 2021, which satisfies the conditions the Canadian Olympic Committee laid out when they urged a postponement.

Monday the COC went public with the decision to not send Canadian athletes to the games unless there was a one-year postponement and encouraged other committees to follow suit. Australia, Norway, Portugal and Germany reportedly called for postponement as well.

In addition to Staley, Gamecock fans will get to see A’ja Wilson, who made the women’s national team, and Tiffany Mitchell, who was named a replacement. Allisha Gray was named to the 3X3 team.

Gamecock fans will most likely get to see rising redshirt-sophomore Laeticia Amihere compete with Team Canada in 2021 as well.

Amihere stepped away during the season to help the women’s national team qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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Chaunte'l Powell