Olympic Games leaders to hold discussions on coronavirus as more sports go dark

The coronavirus pandemic is pushing Olympic leaders to hold a series of teleconferences with major sports organizations.
(Charly Triballeau / AFP via Getty Images)

With more pre-Games qualifying events canceled or postponed over the weekend, Olympic leaders are planning to hold a series of teleconferences with major sports organizations regarding the coronavirus situation.

Rowing and modern pentathlon were the latest in a growing list of international federations to put competitions on hold because of the outbreak.

“We care about all athletes and their health,” said Aya Medany, chair of the UIPM Athletes Committee, in a statement, “and the cancellation of events throughout March and April is the best way to protect them until we know more about the impact of this coronavirus.”

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board is scheduled to have a teleconference Tuesday to prepare for calls later this week with international federations and national Olympic committees representing various countries.


A postponement or a cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics because of coronavirus would be a monumental task that Japan and the IOC hope to avoid.

“Since this situation started to develop some weeks ago, the IOC has been constantly updating its shareholders on the latest developments,” the IOC said in a statement. “The calls are part of this regular information-sharing process.”

Meanwhile, leading IOC members publicly disagreed on a deadline for making a final call on the Games.

Last month, Dick Pound of Canada suggested the IOC would have to decide by late May. Over the weekend, John Coates of Australia said there is no set time frame.


“It’s never been the IOC’s position,” Coates told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was Dick’s idea. There is four months to go.”

The Summer Games are scheduled to begin July 24 and run through early August.