Swimming in Canada supports the US in the fight for Olympic delay

Swimming in Canada says it supports the US swimming call to postpone the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

In a letter sent Friday to Sarah Hirschland, executive director of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, US swimming director general Tim Hinchi said the outbreak of coronavirus caused “unimaginable interruptions” that cast doubt on the authenticity of a level playing field in just a few months. before the olympiad.

“It is with this serious concern that we respectfully request the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to advocate the one-year postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Hinchi wrote.

Later on Friday, "Swimming in Canada" stated that it was "very consistent" with the issues raised by Hinchi.

“If we talk about preparing athletes for the Olympic Games during a global pandemic, serious problems arise,” said Ahmed El Awadi, general director of Swimming in Canada. “We greatly value the views of our siblings in the United States and share many of the same health and safety concerns. This includes the safety and well-being of our athletes – both physical and mental – and the safety of the community as a whole.

“Every day that goes without a decision creates more stress and anxiety for our athletes who worry not only about themselves, but also about their communities.”

Susanna Lyons, chairman of the USOPC, agreed with the position of the International Olympic Committee that it is too early to make radical decisions related to the Tokyo Games.

“We would agree with them to say that we need more expert advice than we have today,” Lyons said during a telephone conference. “And we should not make a decision. Games in four months. "

The Canadian Olympic Committee also reaffirmed its support for the IOC decision to wait before making any decisions.

Eugene Liang, high-performance director of Triathlon Canada, said the current global situation has created a “have-nots” environment when it comes to training athletes.

“Sooner or later, this is probably the number one thing everyone is striving for,” Liang said of an urgent decision.

American Katie Ledeki in March participates in the TYR Pro Swim series. On Friday, swimming in the US pushed the Olympics to be postponed, while national committees in the US and Canada continued to support the IOC on the scheduled launch date on July 24th. (Maddy Meyer / Getty Images)

Nick Coward, chairman of the UK track and field team in the UK, told BBC Sport that leaving the Olympic date unchanged “creates so much pressure in the system.” Now it needs to be resolved. ”

Theoretically, no national Olympic federation has the strength to change the form of the Olympics than the USOPC, which every two years invites 550 athletes and her television company with billions of NBC dollars to the show. But after a long day of board meetings, the committee showed no appetite for using this leverage to gain more confidence, even though the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to grow in the United States.

Lyon and CEO Sarah Hirschland talked a lot about what was said from IOC President Thomas Bach, whose latest interview in the New York Times confirmed that plans for the Tokyo Games are moving ahead, whether they start July 24 or some other time .

Following the news of sailing in the United States, Hirschland and Lyons issued a joint statement highlighting the many moving parts that influence any IOC decision and look forward to an important IOC meeting next week, where leaders will receive feedback from countries.

“Be sure, we clearly inform them of your concerns,” the statement said.

While they are promoting plans, leaders in Italy, where more than 3,400 people account for the coronavirus, called on the IOC to change their position.

Latin American Olympic Committees said athletes should be given the opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics before the July 24 Games.

Presidents of the Olympic Committees in Argentina, Mexico and Paraguay told Reuters that discussions were ongoing with the IOC on qualifying competitions in May and June, as well as on using the results of previous athletes' competitions.

“The qualifiers are a concern, and in that sense, it was decided to analyze other types of qualifiers, such as the use of the Pan American Games in Lima,” said Camilo Perez, President of the Paraguayan Committee, referring to the 2019 tournament in Peru.

“And extending the timeline that would almost reach the date of the Games.”

Athletes also urge to postpone

A growing number of athletes are calling on Olympic leaders to take more decisive action: “The most striking part of all this is the feeling that the IOC will do what they want, no matter what the athletes think,” – US Olympic Silver Sandy Pole Vault Medal Morris wrote on Thursday late at night.

But there is also a contingent of less vocal athletes who are not so loud in social networks and “for whom it looks like their opportunity, their only opportunity,” Hirschland said.

“This adds to the complication factor,” when making a decision, Hirschland said.

Han Xiao, chairman of the Athletes Advisory Council, confirmed this and said that this is why his group did not make any final statements encouraging the postponement.

“We specifically ask for greater transparency in the decision-making process, more information about what measures and conditions are being discussed, and less public attention to training and“ ordinary business, ”which puts athletes in a bad position,” Khan said.

Many of the athletes' training regimes have actually broken up, as sports halls and public training venues across the country have been closed. The USOPC has closed its Olympic training centers for all but 180 or so who lives in them – and many in these groups have decided to leave the campus.

Hirschland said that it should be clear to every elite and sports enthusiast that “health and safety should be No. 1 priority for Americans,” not training.

Qualification changed beyond recognition

The USOPC has increased the availability of psychological and emotional counseling as anxiety builds on what comes next. About 190 out of 550 places in the US team are planned to be played in June for gymnastics, swimming and running at the Olympic competitions, and all of them are under threat.

Both Bach and USOPC executives recognized the realities of the qualification process, which is changing beyond recognition. Hirschland says the federation is working with individual sports, both nationally and internationally, to adapt to cases where the Olympics are held without a traditional qualification structure.

She also said that if the IOC does not make any announcement about a change in the start date on July 24, it needs to continue to move forward as safely as possible with operational and logistical plans for organizing games for its athletes.

“Our priority and our commitment to the athletes we serve,” she said. “If they are given the opportunity (to participate in the Olympic Games), we will not become the reason why they do not have such an opportunity. We will be there and we will be ready. ”

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