As I.O.C. Deliberates, Track and Field Athletes Want Summer Olympics Postponed

In latest days, as leaders of the International Olympic Committee went again and forth with organizers of the Tokyo Games, sponsors, media companions and leaders of worldwide sports activities federations over whether or not to postpone the Summer Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, athletes around the globe tried to leap right into a debate they are saying they’ve had little position in.

Some spoke out via the press. Others made their voices heard on social media. The Athletics Association, a labor group that makes an attempt to offer a larger voice to the world’s monitor and subject athletes, launched the outcomes of an internet ballot of its members to gauge their views on the problem. The outcomes have been overwhelming.

More than four,000 monitor and subject athletes from six continents participated within the ballot and 78 p.c of them mentioned the Summer Games ought to be postponed. In addition, 87 p.c mentioned the coronavirus outbreak had adversely affected their coaching, and the typical concern for his or her well being and security was 68 on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 representing the best concern, if the Games opened as deliberate on July 24.

“What’s clear from our research is that the athletes overwhelmingly want the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be postponed,” mentioned Jeff Freeman, a founding father of the group. “The Olympic Games are the pinnacle, but we are fighting a global pandemic and the athletes’ health and also the health of every other citizen on the planet must surely be prioritized.”

“The entire world is in a state of uncertainty,” said Christian Taylor, a founder of the Athletics Association and a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump. “We’re in a revolving door we continue to be locked in. This is just being drawn out for too long.”

Taylor said he and other athletes have grown increasingly frustrated at the limited information they have received as the crisis has spread across the globe. He said he and his training group in Jacksonville, Fla., have been watching the news and reading blogs for information, rather than relying on updates from people in charge of the competition.

Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, track and field’s governing body, on Sunday called on Bach to postpone the Games.

“Whilst we all know that different parts of the world are at different stages of the virus, the unanimous view across all our Areas is that an Olympic Games in July this year is neither feasible nor desirable,” Coe wrote to Bach on behalf of his federation.

Beyond concern over their own health and safety, the athletes said they were upset that holding the Olympic Games when so many of them had not been able to train properly would be unfair.

Emma Coburn, an Olympic bronze medalist in the steeplechase who is training in Boulder, Colo., said no one could predict what the world would look like this summer, but athletes know, right now, that the virus has wreaked havoc with training schedules.

“I’m lucky,” she said. “I can do most of my training on roads with just a pair of shoes, but athletes in field events or distance runners who are on lockdown, they can’t train, and this is happening in waves. The vast majority of athletes don’t feel comfortable with training for Games right now.”

Edoardo Accetta, an Italian triple jumper based in Milan, said he had to abandon most of his strength training. His gym and track have been shut down. His training is limited to the use of another track for a two-and-a-half-hour session each day.

“It’s not optimal, but I am lucky to have this opportunity,” Accetta said. “If you can find a way to keep the competitive integrity and the fairness, we can think about doing the Games, but otherwise I can see no way out.”

Edwin Moses, the chairman emeritus of the United States Anti-Doping Agency and a two-time Olympic hurdling champion, said there was little doubt that the only solution was to postpone the Games.

“I would be upset for someone to expect me to continue training at this point,” Moses said on Sunday. “I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety these athletes are going through these days.”

Tariq Panja contributed reporting.

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