IOC Member Dick Pound Speaks On Tokyo Olympics Being Moved or Canceled Due To Coronavirus

(Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

It was just last week when officials assured the press that the rapid spread of the coronavirus would not put a damper for the Tokyo Olympics, which are set to take place this summer.

One week later and things have certainly changed and now the entire event is in danger of not happening.

Dick Pound, who is the longest-serving member of the IOC, spoke to the Associated Press and talked about the risks and possibility of canceling the games.

“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound said, which would mean putting off a decision until late May and hoping the virus is under control. “A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, The media folks will be in there building their studios.”

And if it got to the point of not going ahead, Pound speculated “you’re probably looking at a cancellation.”

“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?’”

If the Olympics were to be moved, it would likely be a location change, not a time change.

“As far as we all know you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound said. “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”

Japan has already spent over $25 billion to host the event, and they would raise all hell if the location has to be moved.

The 2020 Summer Olympics kick off on Friday, July 24.