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U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Leadership Responds To USA Swimming’s Call To Postpone Olympic And Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020

By United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee | March 20, 2020, 5:28 p.m. (ET)


The following statement is attributable to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland and USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons:

"The USOPC has complete and total empathy for the athlete community as they manage the terrible stress and anxiety caused by the current lack of certitude regarding the Tokyo Games. We understand that the athletes have concerns about training, qualification and anti-doping controls, and that they want transparency, communication and clarity to the full extent possible. The USOPC has made it clear that all athletes should put their health and wellness, and the health and wellness of the greater community, above all else at this unprecedented moment. At the same time, and as it relates to the Games, we have also heard from athletes that they want the Olympic and Paralympic community to be very intentional about the path forward – and to ensure that we aren’t prematurely taking away any athletes’ opportunity to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games until we have better clarity.

The USOPC is in constant communication with senior leadership of the IOC and IPC – and they have also expressed that their focus is on the health and well-being of athletes, and communities around the world, and that they will continue to rely on advice from the World Health Organization as they determine if it is necessary to adapt their position as the situation evolves. They believe that it is premature to make a final call on the date of the Games and we believe that we should afford them the opportunity to gather more data and expert advice before insisting that a decision be made. Ahead of the IOC Executive Board meeting next week, the IOC is polling all the NOCs to determine the impacts on training that are occurring. Rest assured we are making your concerns clearly known to them. The USOPC will be leaders in providing accurate advice and honest feedback, and be unfailing advocates of the athletes and their safety, and the necessity of a fair platform for the Games. You have our promise.”