Dawn Staley's Olympic Head Coaching Debut Could Be Delayed

Chaunte'l Powell

South Carolina head basketball coach Dawn Staley’s Olympic debut as a coach may be deferred.

The Tokyo Games are tentatively scheduled to start on July 23, 2021 and run through August 8.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the 2020 Olympics could be canceled if they 2021 start date doesn’t happen.

“You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organization committee,” he said. “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.”

Though the United States is re-opening after the COVID-19 outbreak and taking steps to bring sports back there a still a number of unknowns in terms of if the virus will spread, causing a sudden surge in cases. While China got a handle on the virus on their end, they’ve seen a second wave. Many countries around the world have been taking the necessary steps to flatten the curve, but a vaccine is still not readily available, further complicating many of the decisions.

Staley, who went to three Olympic games during her playing career, was selected to be the head coach the USA Basketball Women’s for National Team for the first time.

When it was first announced that the Olympics were being postponed, Staley came out in support of the decision.

 “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 spoke to her hometown paper The Inquirer in Philadelphia 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.”