Bronze medal Olympian believes postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was the right decision

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 4:58pm

British sprinter Martyn Rooney spoke to Love Sport Radio about the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games until 2021.

Many wondered why it was taking the International Olympic Committee so long to announce that this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, were to be postponed. 

Just like how UEFA had decided to postpone the Euros this summer, sporting events across the world are being rearranged in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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In a joint statement on the Olympics website from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee yesterday, the decision was made to move the games to next summer instead: "The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

"President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games."

The statement continued: "In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020."

Speaking about the news, British sprinter Martyn Rooney, who won a Bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, welcomed the decision.

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"It's common sense. I think there's much bigger things going on in the world right now, we need to focus our energies on controlling this virus. 

"And hosting the Olympic Games takes a hell of a lot of energy, takes a lot of money, takes a lot of people.

"The health and safety of people around the world is more important than sport anyway at the moment." 

Asked whether the long wait whilst the governing bodies decided to postpone the games showed a lack of care towards competing athletes, Rooney dismissed the idea and understood why it couldn't have been a "snap decision". 

"No, I think obviously decisions have to be made, they have to be well thought out, they can't just be a snap decision. For an individual athlete it's very easy to go 'Okay, cool. I'm training from home so my training has got to change', that's like an easy decision. 

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"For a government like Japan and the IOC, there's obviously huge legal implications for both of them. And they had to take their time, they had to make sure they've made the right decision and I suppose they probably had to avoid all the litigation that goes on with it as well like if you cancel the Games, or postpone the Games, it's probably going to cost them a hell of a lot of money on top of what they've already paid. 

"I can understand like, they just want to do what's right for the people of Japan. They want to do what's right for the athletes, but I'm glad they've made the decision. for weeks. When they said that it was going to be four weeks that was a complete joke, but it's been a quick turnaround and yeah, I suppose we're happy now, we can kind of at least refocus on what we need. 

"But at least we now know and that is what suits everybody."

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