Update 2:15pm March 23: on Monday IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that "postponement has been decided," and that "the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."
Read the full article at IOC member says that 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.
The IOC was not as certain, officially at least; Pound has made statements in the past that the IOC has walked back from, and this one was no exception.
According to the report, in response to Pound's latest comments, spokesperson Mark Adams said, "It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC executive board which was announced yesterday."
On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee issued a statement that acknowledges the need for alternate scenarios for running the Tokyo Olympic Games. The statement did explicitly state that "cancellation is not on the agenda."
Pressure had mounted throughout the weekend as athletes, NGBs, and national Olympic committees issued calls (both official and unofficial) for a postponement of the Games.
See the full release here: Health and safety paramount as IOC Executive Board agrees to step up scenario-planning for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
IOC President Thomas Bach also issued a letter directly addressed to Olympic hopeful athletes: Letter from President Thomas Bach OLY to athletes.
Concerns elucidated in the release include:
- potential unavailability of venues
- considerable logistical challenges
- millions of nights of hotels already booked
- potential alteration of existing non-Olympic sports calendars (for example, if a one-year postponement occurred, the 2021 world championships in many sports may have to be rescheduled)
The release called on several critical stakeholders for cooperation, including the 2020 Organizing Committee, all international federations and Olympic committees, broadcasters, sponsors, suppliers, contractors, and more.
As regards cancellation, the release said "The IOC Executive Board emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda."