Grenadian Olympic gold medallist Kirani James admits to being uneasy over the uncertainly surrounding the rest of the track and field season but does not believe he will be severely impacted by the cancellation of the Olympic Games this year.

After months of deliberation and some amount of hesitance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Games would be pushed forward by a year, as the world struggles to come to grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

For thousands of athletes around the world, the news would come as a hammer blow with months of preparation upended and a year added to a chance to shine at athletics signature events.  For some, already struggling to make a final appearance due to aging, aching limbs it was even a tougher pill to swallow.  The 27-year-old James, who is already a World and Olympic champions, does not fall into that category. 

“I don’t think so (Impacts chance of medaling at next Olympics), at least not right now. It is what it is,” the former University of Alabama sprinter told TideSports.

“It’s not the fault of anything we can control. We just take it as what it is and try our best to prepare. That’s the decision they came to and we have to accept it. We have to prepare as best as we can.”

Like the majority, he believes it was a necessary evil.   

“The way I see it is, for them to postpone it, they’re taking this pandemic very seriously and I’m sure if there was a way where they could keep it for this year, they would have.  Obviously, they exhausted all their options. It is what it is. At the end of the day, safety and health trumps the Olympics every time,” he added.

James won the 400m gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, after claiming gold at the World Championships one year prior.  The sprinter then went on to claim silver behind world-record breaker Wayde van Niekerk at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  James saw his career severely hampered after being diagnosed with Graves' disease.  He has since recovered and was confident things were progressing well for Tokyo before the delays.

“Training was good. It was very consistent, the workouts and everything.  Really it was just gearing up for the start of the season in April. Everything was on track.”

World Athletics is working with organisers for the 2021 World Championships to find new dates after showing its support for the rescheduling of the Olympic Games.

It was confirmed on Monday the Tokyo Olympics will take place between July 23 and August 8, 2021, with the Games – which were due to start on July 24 of this year – having been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Discussions are now ongoing to find an alternative gap in the calendar for the Worlds in Oregon, which are scheduled to be held between August 6 and 15, 2021, as it stands.

World Athletics are also liaising with the relevant parties of the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, both of which are slated for 2022.

A World Athletics statement read: "We support the new 2021 dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games announced today by the Japanese organisers and the IOC. 

"This gives our athletes the time they need to get back into training and competition. 

"Everyone needs to be flexible and compromise and to that end we are now working with the organisers of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on new dates in 2022 for our World Athletics Championships.  

"We are also in discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation and the European Championships.  

"We would like to thank our Oregon 21 Organising Committee, their stakeholders and our partners for their collaboration and willingness to explore all options."

The Tokyo Games have been rescheduled to take place between July 23 and August 8, 2021, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has confirmed.

Last week, the Olympics – which were due to start on July 24 – were postponed due to the global spread of coronavirus.

A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee later clarified the Games would be moved "to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021".

The IOC has now ratified the new dates, while announcing the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5.

In a conference call on Monday, IOC president Thomas Bach said: "I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days.

"I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes' Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge.

"Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel."

An IOC statement said the decision was based on three main considerations; to protect the health of athletes and support the containment of COVID-19, to safeguard the interests of athletes and of Olympic sport, and the global international sports calendar.

It added the new dates provide health authorities ample time to deal with an ever-changing landscape, while sufficient time will be given to finish qualification processes where necessary.

The IOC said heat mitigation factors as planned for 2020 will also still be implemented.

The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Mori Yoshiro, said: "I proposed that the Games should be hosted between July and August 2021, and I really appreciate that President Bach, having discussed this proposal with the various international sports federations and other related organisations, kindly accepted my proposal.

"A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable.

"In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.

"Notwithstanding the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in history, and various other issues that have already been highlighted, the event schedule is the cornerstone of future preparations, and I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations."

The rescheduling marks the culmination of a frantic period.

A little over two weeks ago, Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe and the IOC both insisted there was no need to postpone the Games.

However, the worsening situation of the global spread of COVID-19 soon made such proclamations look extremely premature.

There have been 737,567 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, with 34,998 people having died - as per World Health Organisation figures on Monday.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says track and field must not be afraid to "think bigger" after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed the Tokyo Olympics – which had been due to start in July – has been postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing crisis.

World Athletics has welcomed the decision, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having initially been reluctant to postpone the showpiece event.

It appears inevitable the World Athletics Championship, due to be held in Oregon in August 2021, will be nudged back a year to 2022 as a result.

Though disappointed at the 2020 schedule being hugely affected, Coe suggested there is now an opportunity to reinvigorate athletics.

"When we get through this, and we will, we will be braver and more innovative," Coe wrote in an open letter on Friday.

"We will be more collaborative and resilient. We will be stronger and more tolerant. We will be more global, not less.

"In sport we have a unique opportunity not to tiptoe around things and tweak at the edges. We have the chance to think bigger, to rip up the blueprints and banish the 'that's the way we've always done it' mentality."

Coe added: "The situation the world finds itself in today is a huge wake-up call for all of us – as human beings, as businesses and as sport. We should capitalise on this and work out new ways of delivering events, create and plan new events that embrace the many as well as the few.

"We can use this time to innovate and extend our sport across the year. Rather than just focusing on one-day meetings and one-day road races at one end of the spectrum and 10-day extravaganzas at the other end, we should look at weekend festivals of running, jumping and throwing that take advantage of the southern and northern hemisphere seasons.

"We should work with governments to re-establish sport in schools, rebuild club structures, incentivise people to exercise and get fit. This should and could be the new normal. We don't have to do things the same way.

"The priority for all of us right now is to contain the pandemic, stay healthy and stay home. But where we can continue to drive our sport forward, we must."

Coe also revealed his organisation will do all it can to ensure the outdoor season of one-day meetings goes ahead as soon as it is safe, with Diamond League events having been postponed until at least June.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said there is no evidence to suggest members of Turkey's team contracted coronavirus during the Boxing Road to Tokyo event in London.

Just three days of action were possible at the Copper Box Arena before the competition was brought to a premature halt on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Turkish Boxing Federation accused the IOC Boxing Task Force of being irresponsible for allowing the European qualifier to go ahead in the circumstances, with reports saying two of their fighters and a coach have tested positive.

While expressing sympathy for those who have been taken ill, the task force feels there is nothing to suggest they were infected during the competition.

An IOC Boxing Task Force statement said: "Yesterday, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) received news reports regarding participants of the Boxing Road to Tokyo European qualifier held in London from 14 to 16 March 2020, who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 following a return to their country.

"Most importantly, the BTF wants to express its sympathy for the affected athletes and officials and wishes them a very speedy and full recovery, and the BTF is in close contact with their respective National Olympic Committees. 

"Some news reports appeared to draw a connection between the affected participants and the Boxing Road to Tokyo European qualifier held in London. The London event was suspended 10 days ago, on 16 March 2020, and the BTF is not aware of any link between the competition and the infection.

"Many participants were in independently organised training camps in Italy, Great Britain and in their home countries before the competition started on 14 March 2020 and have returned home a while ago so it is not possible to know the source of infection.

"The BTF notes, that at the time of the European qualifier in London there were many sports and other events going on in Great Britain because there were no governmental restrictions or advice on public events in place.

"Nevertheless, in cooperation between the BTF and the Local Organising Committee, precautionary measures before, during and in the follow-up phase of the event were implemented and the event was suspended when the COVID-19 situation developed further.

"Safeguarding the well-being of the athletes, officials and all other participants has always been a top priority for the BTF."

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach described rescheduling the Tokyo Olympics as "like a huge jigsaw puzzle", adding that all options are being considered when it comes to a new start date.

It was confirmed on Monday that the global spread of coronavirus would result in the Games - which had been due to start on July 24 - being postponed.

A statement issued by the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee stated the Olympics would be "rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021".

On Tuesday Bach explained a special taskforce had been formed to work alongside the international federations and identify the most suitable date for the Games to now take place.

"The agreement is that we want to organise these Olympic Games at the latest in summer 2021," Bach told reporters on a conference call.

"That means that this task force can consider the broader picture.

"This is not restricted just to the summer months, all the options are on the table before or including the summer of 2021."

Bach added: "We of course also have to take into account the sport calendar around the Olympic Games and many other issues.

"We should come to a solution as soon as possible, but first priority should be the quality of this decision; to really be able to take the input of all the stakeholders into account – the NOCs [national Olympic committees], athletes, partners, and the organising committee is key also in this."

The Games in Tokyo will be the first not to go ahead on time since the Second World War, with Bach acknowledging the new team is in unfamiliar waters.

"This is like a huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit," Bach explained.

"You take out one piece, the whole puzzle is destroyed.

"Everything has to come together and everything is important. This is why I really do not envy the members of this taskforce in their work."

World Athletics has welcomed the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will expedite its review of the qualification system for the Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday confirmed the event, which was due to start on July 24, will be put back until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

IOC president Thomas Bach last weekend put a four-week timeframe on making a decision over whether the Games would go ahead as scheduled, despite being under huge pressure to announce a postponement.

World Athletics says it was important athletes know where they stand and will notify them of any changes to the qualifying process as soon as possible.

"World Athletics welcomes the decision of the IOC and the Japanese Government to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021," the global governing body said in a statement.

"It is what athletes want and we believe this decision will give all athletes, technical officials and volunteers some respite and certainty in these unprecedented and uncertain times.

"Athletics will continue to do whatever we can to preserve and create an outdoor season of one-day meetings in 2020, starting and ending later than usual, so athletes, when they are able and it is safe to, will have access to competitions in every region.

"This will help them benchmark their performances and adjust their training accordingly for an Olympic Games in 2021.

"In light of this announcement, we will also expedite our current review of the Olympic qualification system, in cooperation with the IOC, and release any changes to the process as soon as possible so athletes know where they stand.

"World Athletics stands ready to work with the IOC and all sport on an alternative date for the Olympic Games in 2021 and has already been in discussion with the Organising Committee of the World Athletics Championships Oregon 21 regarding the possibility of moving the dates of this highly popular worldwide event.

"They have reassured us that they will work with all of their partners and stakeholders to ensure that Oregon is able to host the World Athletics Championships on alternative dates, including dates in 2022."

Max Whitlock plans to continue working towards competing in Tokyo this year but admits the prospect of the Olympics being postponed is "gutting".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday they have set a four-week deadline to make a decision on the staging of the 2020 Games, which are due to get under way on July 24.

Both USA Track and Field and USA Swimming have called for a move to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, while Canada have ruled out sending athletes to the Olympic or Paralympic Games if they go ahead as planned.

Despite the uncertainty, British gymnast Whitlock - who won two gold medals in Rio four years ago - will remain on schedule with his training until told otherwise.

"I'm trying to stay positive but it is gutting," Whitlock told the Standard. "I was training hard for the upcoming competitions but we are being told that the Olympics is still going ahead.

"That's a great thing for me; I'm still motivated and it's important to keep that mindset because that’s what keeps me going."

He added: “I'm not even thinking about a situation where the Olympics doesn’t go ahead because as soon as you do that, that’s where motivation will dip.

“I won't go away from that mindset until I'm told differently.

"I think that's where a lot of athletes are struggling, feeling like they need to know now. But these are big decisions that need to be made and we need to be patient."

Many pre-Olympic events have already been cancelled due to COVID-19, forcing Whitlock to make alternative arrangements as he aims to stay sharp.

"It's not just the training that prepares you for an Olympic Games, it’s the competitions that you have," the 27-year-old explained. "I need to prepare as close to that plan as possible.

"I'll be going on social media live with a routine so that I'm put under pressure. People will be watching and I want to do a good job.

"I know it's not me competing in an arena, but it's the closest I can get."

Former Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh feels the refusal to make a swift call on Tokyo 2020 exposes athletes to "unnecessary risk" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee confirmed on Sunday it was considering postponing the Games but would make a decision in the next four weeks.

Canada will not send athletes to Japan, while a number of sporting bodies - including USA Track and Field - are in favour of delaying the event, with over 340,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and almost 15,000 deaths.

Van der Burgh, who won the 100 metres breaststroke at London 2012, has bemoaned the lack of "clarification", though.

The South African revealed on Twitter he has contracted COVID-19 and is concerned how other athletes could be affected if they continue to prepare for the tournament.

"I have been struggling with COVID-19 for 14 days today," Van der Burgh wrote on Sunday.

"[This is] by far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs (no smoking/sport), living a healthy lifestyle and being young (least at risk demographic).

"Although the most severe symptoms (extreme fever) have eased, I am still struggling with serious fatigue and a residual cough that I can't shake. Any physical activity like walking leaves me exhausted for hours.

"The loss in body conditioning has been immense and [I] can only feel for the athletes that contract COVID-19 as they will suffer a great loss of current conditioning through the last training cycle - infection closer to competition being the worst.

"Athletes will continue to train as there is no clarification [on the] summer Games and thus are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk - and those that do contract [coronavirus] will try [to] rush back to training, most likely enhancing/extending the damage/recovery time.

"Please, look after yourself everyone! Health comes first - COVID-19 is no joke!"

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) chief executive Matt Carroll believes holding the Games in 2021 remains tough as his nation's athletes prepare for a postponed event.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday it had set a four-week deadline to make a decision on the Tokyo Games.

Canada have decided not to send athletes to an Olympics this year, while Australia are preparing for a Games in 2021.

The AOC said last week the Olympics would either go ahead or be cancelled, but Carroll feels a postponement is possible, although tough.

"It remains difficult hence why their decision is they will come back to us within the month," Carroll told a news conference on Monday.

"Moving the world's biggest sporting event, it involves so many people, so many sports, not just athletes, but also the world's media, sponsors, the rest.

"It's not easy to do, it remains challenging, but the IOC decided they have to look at that as well."

There have been more than 339,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with more than 14,600 deaths.

Carroll said while athletes wanted to compete, the uncertainty globally meant it was best to look towards 2021.

"The AOC executive met this morning and considered all the parts – both the IOC's decision, the government [travel] measures and most importantly, our athletes," he said.

"The decision is that they unanimously agreed that the Australian Olympic team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances both here and abroad.

"We have to look after not only just our athletes and officials, but also their families, who were feeling concerned for their sons and their daughters.

"With these travel restrictions in place by the government which we respect and understand and we understand they need to keep Australians safe, combined with the decision of the IOC, we've decided to plan towards the hosting of a Games in 2021 in Tokyo.

"I understand that's a situation which the Tokyo government and TOCOG [Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] will look at with the IOC over the coming month."

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is planning for a postponed Olympic Games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It follows the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) announcement on Sunday that it was considering postponing Tokyo 2020, which is scheduled to start on July 24.

Canada have already opted against sending athletes to the Olympic or Paralympic Games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis and the AOC has told athletes to prepare for a 2021 Games.

"We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs. With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation," AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said on Monday.

"The IOC had adopted the key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport. This decision reflects those principles. We are now in a position where we can plan with greater certainty.

"I would like to thank AOC Athletes' Commission Chair Steve Hooker for his valuable contribution to discussions today and over the last week, representing the views of our athletes."

Australian team chef de mission for Tokyo Ian Chesterman added: "It's clear the Games can't be held in July. Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.

"They have also shouldered the burden of concern for their peers around the world. That has been a consistent message to me.

"While there will still be much to work out as a result of this change, the timing will allow athletes from around the world to properly prepare with the hope the coronavirus crisis will be under control.

"We are aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues. But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity."

Canada will not send athletes to the Olympic or Paralympic Games in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, they announced on Sunday.

Organisers are under increasing pressure to postpone or cancel the Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Tokyo starting July 24.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday it had set a four-week deadline to make a decision on the 2020 Games.

But Canada said they would not be sending athletes to a 2020 Olympics, calling for the Games to be postponed.

"The Canadian Olympic Committee [COC] and Canadian Paralympic Committee [CPC], backed by their athletes' commissions, national sports organisations and the government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020," a statement read.

"The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee [IOC], and the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] and the World Health Organization [WHO] to postpone the Games for one year and we offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring.

"While we recognise the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community.

"This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.

"The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.

"We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.

"The COC and CPC would like to thank our athletes, partners and the Canadian sport community for their patience and for lending us their voices during these unprecedented times. We remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus."

The coronavirus has killed more than 14,600 people worldwide, with cases exceeding 337,000.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe accepted the Tokyo Olympics may have to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday it was considering postponing the Games, with a decision to be made in the next four weeks.

Abe, who said earlier this month the Olympics – scheduled to start in July – would go ahead, accepted the Games may have to be postponed.

"I want to implement the Olympics and Paralympics completely as proof that the world has overcome the virus, which the international community is now severely affected by," he told parliament on Monday, via NHK World.

"If it is difficult to do so, we will have to think first about athletes and make a decision about whether to postpone the event."

There have been more than 337,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll climbing above 14,600.

 

World Athletics is ready to work with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on a new date for Tokyo 2020 as it welcomes discussions to postpone the Games.

The IOC confirmed on Sunday it was considering pushing back the Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic and would make a decision in the next four weeks.

However, cancellation of the Tokyo Games is not on the agenda, it said.

The announcement came after USA Track and Field and USA Swimming urged for a postponement of the event.

Following the news, World Athletics revealed it had written to the IOC with feedback from its athletes, and it was keen to look for a new date in the calendar.

"World Athletics welcomes discussions with the IOC to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and wrote to the IOC earlier today to relay this feedback from its area presidents, council and athletes," a statement read.

"We stand ready to work with the IOC and all sport on an alternative date."

The Games is currently scheduled to start on July 24.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering postponing the Tokyo Games and will make a decision in the next four weeks, but says cancellation is not on the agenda.

Pressure has grown on the IOC to confirm the Games, due to start on July 24, will not go ahead as scheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus has killed 14,457 people worldwide and that figure continues to rise.

IOC president Thomas Bach this week stated that different scenarios for staging the Games are being considered and on Sunday revealed a timeframe for a call to be made.

The IOC outlined that modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on July 24 and changing the start date are being considered.

It explained that "critical venues" may no longer be available and raised logistical concerns such as hotel bookings and the potential impact on the calendar of "at least 33" Olympic sports.

Full commitment, the IOC added, would be required from all parties when coming up with a plan of action.

Bach has written to the global athlete community to inform them of the organisation's approach.

He wrote: "Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games.

"The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus.

"I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel."

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