Coronavirus: Canadian IOC member expects 2020 Olympics will be postponed

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are expected to be postponed because of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, one organizing committee member conceded on Monday.

But the organization itself is still staying mum.

In an interview with Global News, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said the organization recognizes there will be consequences of delaying the Olympic Games but has decided to take the move as the virus continues to spread.

“IOC has pulled the trigger on this. There’s going to be a postponement,” Pound said. “But they want to be able to put together all of these very, very complicated elements of a postponement.”

READ MORE: IOC position on Tokyo Olympics draws mixed reaction from Canadian athletes

It’s not clear yet when the Games could be held.

The apparent decision comes after the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee issued statements on Sunday that they would not send Canadian athletes to compete unless the Olympics were postponed for one year.

It also comes after Tom Bach, president of the IOC, issued a letter to athletes on Sunday saying that the organization was taking four weeks to decide how to proceed and whether the Games should go ahead.

Pound suggested the decision is already made and that those four weeks are going to be spent working out how a postponement would actually work.

But a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee would not confirm if such a decision has been made and said every committee member is free to take what they will from the comments made by the executive board on Sunday.

“It is the right of every IOC Member to interpret the decision of the IOC EB which was announced yesterday,” the spokesperson said.

READ MORE: Canada refuses to send athletes to Tokyo Olympics unless Games postponed

The Games had been set to start on July 24.

But there are 349,211 worldwide cases of the novel coronavirus and it has so far killed 15,308.

Public health officials around the world are urging widespread social distancing in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Concerts, sporting events, international gatherings and other major public gatherings around the world have been cancelled over recent weeks as part of that effort.

In Canada, there are more than 1,400 cases of the virus.

It has caused the deaths of 20 Canadians.

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More to come.

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