In the wake of concerns about how the coronavirus outbreak could impact the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland sent a memo to the U.S. Olympic community Tuesday saying the USOPC remains “committed to being the best prepared NOC (national Olympic committee) in Tokyo, and Team USA athletes are similarly focused.”
Hirshland’s memo, which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports, followed the news that International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told the Associated Press that if it becomes too dangerous to hold the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this summer due to the coronavirus, organizers are more likely to cancel the Games than postpone or move them.
Pound, a long-time IOC member from Canada, also estimated there was a three-month window in which such a decision would have to be made, meaning it would have to come by late May. The Olympics are scheduled for July 24-August 9.
“As you likely read, IOC Member Dick Pound participated in an AP story earlier today where he addressed concerns over the coronavirus and its potential impact on the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo,” Hirshland wrote. “Pound lays out several scenarios and conditions that could lead to interruption but, importantly, reiterates the global stance that prep for the Games must continue – and that lines up exactly with our organizational philosophy.”
Hirshland said the USOPC is in “close contact” with the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Homeland Security and the IOC medical staff, which is working in coordination with the World Health Organization, the Tokyo Organizing Committee and the Japanese government.
“As we look toward the 2020 Olympic Games, the health and safety of Team USA athletes and our Tokyo delegation is our primary concern,” Hirshland said. “As new information becomes available, we promise to be as proactive, transparent and responsive as possible regarding new developments.”