IOC Member Dick Pound: Tokyo Olympics Will Be Postponed

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Senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed, according to USA Today's Christine Brennan.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told USA Today. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

"It will come in stages," he added. "We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."

Pound later elaborated on his comments in a radio appearance with SportsNet 590 The Fan.

"If they're going to cancel the Games as one extreme, you don't have to wait four weeks to do that," Pound said. "You just cancel it and put everybody out of their misery. If you're carrying on with your original plan of July 24th, you don't need to issue anything because you've been talking that way and dealing with the press and elsewhere with that. If you look at the only alternative in the middle of that, it's the p-word. Postponement is on the table. It's really a question of whether you postpone by a year or you try and see whether you can squeeze this in at the end of 2020 but with the curve on the COVID virus heading almost straight up, it's just so unlikely that I think you're looking at a year. In Japan, you've got the prime minister advising the Japanese public that it looks like they won't be able to proceed as planned and that a postponement may be likely – along with the support of 69% of his constituents that prefer to have a postponement."

"I think the only rational conclusion from all that is we're talking postponement and you need the four weeks that they mentioned to come up with an alternative," he added. "You can't just say, 'We're going to postpone.' Because that relieves none of the uncertainty that's out there. We're going to take four weeks and we'll come up and we're going to give you as much of a Plan B as much as we can at that time."

On Sunday, the IOC said it would take up to four weeks to make a final decision on the Tokyo Olympics and the possibility of postponing it to later this year or 2021. The opening ceremony is currently set for July 24. Cancellation is not an option.

The 2020 Olympics would be the first to be suspended. The modern Olympics has been canceled only during wartime. 

In late February, Pound was among the first within the IOC to raise concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and making a decision on the fate of the Games by May. In an interview with the Associated Press, he had said "you’re probably looking at a cancellation" if the Olympics proceeded as scheduled.

A final decision on the Olympics would be announced by the IOC, IOC president Thomas Bach or Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.