Despite growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer will not be canceled. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed the news yesterday, however, several IOC members are speaking out against the decision, calling it "irresponsible."
In its official statement, the IOC acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic as “an unprecedented situation for the whole world.” However, it claims that “with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage ... and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive." As such, Japan is still planning for a "complete" staging of the games.
Just last month, Dick Pound, a senior IOC member, advised an outright cancellation. Now hockey gold medalist and fellow IOC member Hayley Wickenheiser called out the decision to go ahead with the games.
"I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity," Wickenheiser wrote on Twitter. "From an athlete perspective, I can only imagine and try to empathise with the anxiety and heartbreak athletes are feeling right now."
Other major sporting events, such as the NBA season and Italian Serie A, have been canceled or put on hold due to the rapid global spread of the coronavirus. However, Japan and the International Olympic Committee remain fully committed to the Games.