Amidst the ongoing debate surrounding the upcoming Summer Olympics, one thing is certain right now: Japan is in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases with 11 of its prefectures in a state of emergency and, according to CNN, a reported total of 360,661 infections.
With that in mind, two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, who is in the running for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission, has entered the debate over the Olympics in a story posted on insidethegames.biz. He’s quoted as “urging organizers not to rush into a decision” on the games. Another athlete in the running for the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Greek Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi, was quick to applaud the IOC’s decision to delay the Games last year, but is now in favor of seeing the games go ahead in July.
Brownlee is totally open to that, too, but in an interview with The Yorkshire Post, he expressed his belief that the IOC should see how things develop over the next few months rather than “rush” its decision.
“Last year all hell was breaking loose in March and April and by the time we got to July-August, football was on again, and you start thinking it might have been possible to have had the Olympics,” he’s quoted in the story. “But then again, look how quickly it turned south a couple of months ago. So I don’t think even the most well-informed person knows what’s around the corner and we all have to believe it’s on until it’s off. Given all that, my suggestion would be don’t rush into a decision, put all the mitigation you possibly can in place so that if you can run it under not-so-ideal conditions – and they’re not going to be ideal let’s be honest – then you can do that.”
Both Stefanidi and Brownlee feel that having spectators at the Olympics would be great, but if the choice was to compete without fans or “no Olympics at all, you would always go with the former,” Brownlee told the Yorkshire Post.
As the Tokyo Olympics are now less than six months away, the race for containing the pandemic is on as Olympic officials navigate the troubles of hosting one of the worlds biggest events during a global pandemic.