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Tokyo 2020: Watching the rising tide

Published on March 18th, 2020

“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak” and “in the abundance of caution” have become phrases that now apply to everything we knew, know, and hope to know again. As guidelines are made, and made again, to thwart the progress of this virus, the shadow of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics grows.

The Japanese government and Tokyo Organizing Committee remain undeterred, though US$25 billion spent as event host can keep you playing a game when others have folded. As for the International Olympic Committee, they are playing the clock, hoping the rising tide soon abates.

But well before the Opening Ceremonies on July 24 is significant work to prepare for the two week event, and while the IOC has said they will not restrict spectator attendance for the competition, the uncertainty is building with just four months to go.

Here are some updates:

Who would have thought that an incurable disease passed on by a bat to an exotic creature sold as an allegedly edible delicacy in a provincial Chinese market last November would, four months later, have brought not only the world of sport to a standstill, but virtually the world itself?

That strange and endangered mammal, the pangolin, is believed by some to be the source of coronavirus – now known as COVID-19 – which has raced unchecked around the globe and caused what the British Prime Minister has described as the worst crisis since World War II. Full report.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has claimed there is no need for “any drastic decisions at this stage” regarding this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, despite growing concern over the impact of the coronavirus on the event.

In a lengthy statement released following crisis talks with International Federations, the IOC dismissed “counter-productive” speculation that Tokyo 2020 could be postponed or cancelled and repeated its insistence the Games would go ahead as planned. Full report.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Hayley Wickenheiser says insisting Tokyo 2020 will go ahead as planned is “irresponsible” and Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi has accused the IOC of leaving athletes “at risk” with its stance.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Wickenheiser – who won four Olympic gold medals as part of the Canadian ice hockey team – called not entertaining the idea of a postponement or cancelation “insensitive and irresponsible”.

Wickenheiser said “this crisis is bigger than even the Olympics” and that it was “terrible” some athletes didn’t know where they could train but were still expected to prepare for the Games. Full report.
Vittorio Gregotti, an Italian architect who helped design the Olympic Stadium for the Barcelona 1992 Games, has died at the age of 92 after contracting coronavirus. As reported by Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, Gregotti died of pneumonia on Sunday (March 15) after being hospitalised in Milan. Full report.

TOKYO 2020 Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Olympic schedule: July 24 – Aug 9
Sailing schedule: July 26 – Aug 6

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