Officials say Tokyo 2020 Olympics cancellation is possible due to coronavirus

Feb 26, 2020

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The coronavirus outbreak continues to spread at a rapid rate, with Northern Italy being the latest destination to take serious precautions, cancelling major events like the annual Carnevale celebration in Venice. Now, officials from the International Olympic Committee are sharing that a 2020 Summer Olympics cancellation is possible given the current status of the outbreak.

IOC member Dick Pound says Tokyo Olympic organizers have until late May to see if the virus is under control. If not, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation.”

Dick Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion and longest-serving member of the IOC, told the Associated Press that a cancellation is more likely than postponing or moving the event, given the severity of the outbreak. The committee is planning to decide by late May, which is just two months before the 24 July Opening Ceremony.

Related: Everything you need to know about the deadly coronavirus outbreak 

Nearly 11,000 athletes are expected to participate in 2020, with an estimated 7.8 million tickets allocated for spectators. As of now, Pound is encouraging athletes to continue training.

The Olympic Games were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to World War I and World War II. No other Olympic Games have ever been completely cancelled, so a complete cancellation in 2020 would be a major development.

Featured photo by Yukinori Hasumi/Getty Images.

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