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  • Olympians become trainers to help those stranded at home
    Associated Press

    Olympians become trainers to help those stranded at home

    DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Moving from the track to the living room, many athletes around the world are doing their bit to boost public health during the coronavirus pandemic. There’s been an explosion of athletes offering free online fitness classes and tips to an audience isolated at home. It helps others keep fit, and especially for sports like track and field, it’s a way to stay relevant in a year without the Olympics.

  • Suspension of Olympic qualification gets cool reception
    Reuters

    Suspension of Olympic qualification gets cool reception

    World Athletics announced on Tuesday that qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, which will now take place in July and August next year, would restart on Dec. 1, subject to the global situation returning to normal. "Pretty disappointed about this decision," former Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Evan Jager posted on Twitter. Athletes need to reach certain qualifying marks to be available for selection for the Olympics by their national federations.

  • Tokyo Olympic flame taken off display; next stop unclear
    Associated Press

    Tokyo Olympic flame taken off display; next stop unclear

    The Tokyo Olympic flame has been taken off public display in Japan. After the Tokyo Olympics and the torch relay were postponed until next year, the flame was put on display in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. “Tokyo 2020 will now keep the flame in an undisclosed location to prevent people from gathering,” Tokyo organizers said in a statement to The Associated Press.

  • Olympic flame removed from public view amid postponed Tokyo Games
    LA Times

    Olympic flame removed from public view amid postponed Tokyo Games

    The Olympic flame is removed from public view as the coronavirus prompts a state of emergency in Japan after the postponement of the Tokyo Games.

  • Riding out the pandemic, Rio surfers catch a wave of controversy
    Reuters Videos

    Riding out the pandemic, Rio surfers catch a wave of controversy

    VIDEO SHOWS: PEOPLE SURFING IN RIO DE JANEIRO BRAZIL AS QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS HAVE CLOSED THE BEACHES, VARIOUS SOUNDBITES FROM SURFERS AND ONE SOUNDBITE FROM THE GOVERNOR OF RIO DE JANEIRO STATE RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SHOTLIST AND SCRIPT SHOWS: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (APRIL 04, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. SURFER WALKING DOWN NEARLY EMPTY BEACH 2. SUFER ON WATER 3. BODYBOARDER, GUILHERME WANDERLEY MACHADO FARIA, ON BEACH 4. FARIA BODYBOARDING 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) BODYBOARDER, GUILHERME WANDERLEY MACHADO FARIA, SAYING: "Unfortunately, I was caught (by the police) surfing. Surfing is a crime now." 6. FARIA BODYBOARDING 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) BODYBOARDER, GUILHERME WANDERLEY MACHADO FARIA, SAYING: "I hope I don't end up with a criminal record for something as silly as that." 8. FARIA BODYBOARDING 9. POLICE VEHICLES PATROLLING STREET 10. VARIOUS, POLICE ON BEACH WITH SURFERS IN BACKGROUND 11. POLICE OFFICER TELLING SURFER TO LEAVE BEACH RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (RECENT - MARCH 30, 2020) (RIO DE JANEIRO STATE GOVERNMENT TV - ACCESS ALL) 12. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) RIO DE JANEIRO STATE GOVERNOR, WILSON WITZEL, SAYING: "Do not challenge the virus, do not challenge the pandemic. Because if you do, I will determine what criminal punishment should be applied by the military and civil police." RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (APRIL 04, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 13. VARIOUS, SURFERS IN OCEAN 14. BODYBOARDER IN OCEAN 15. BODYSURFER CATCHING WAVE 16. PERSON WITH FACE MASK WALKS BY ON BEACH RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (APRIL 03, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 17. VARIOUS, SURFER AND JOURNALIST, BRUNO BOCAYUVA, EXERCISING ON ROOF 18. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SURFER AND JOURNALIST, BRUNO BOCAYUVA, SAYING: "I'm really missing the feeling of being in the water, of paddling and piercing through a wave, of connecting with nature through surfing, which allows for that intimate action. But, I know right now is the time to think about the collective. So, I suppress my desire, and I catch that wave, metaphorically speaking, to surf in the near future." 19. BOCAYUVA HOLDING HIS SURFBOARD 20. VARIOUS, BOCAYUVA ENTERING HIS APARTMENT BUILDING 21. LIFE GUARD POST ON LEBLON BEACH 22. CHOPPY WAVES 23. SLOW MOTION OF WAVES / SURFER, RICARDO BOCAO, CATCHING WAVE 24. BOCOA LEAVING WATER 25. BOCAO BY BIKE LANE 26. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SURFER, RICARDO BOCAO, SAYING: "I came early today to really try to avoid this total isolation controversy. But I think that in the same way that people run, they hike, they ride bikes, somebody can grab a board, leave the house, go directly to the water, paddle and go home." 27. BOCAO ON OCEAN 28. BOCAO LOADING HIS BOARD INTO CAR 29. BOCAO DRIVING HOME STORY: Despite stay-at-home orders aiming to protect people from the new coronavirus, many of Rio de Janeiro's famous beaches have been buzzing with surfers seeking to catch the season's first big swell. That has thrown surfers such as Guilherme Faria headlong into a public debate about the legal limits on outdoor sports - in his case, a question that will be soon be decided by a judge. The 22-year-old said he was catching 9-foot curlers on Copacabana Beach on Sunday (April 05) morning when a policeman with a whistle between his teeth hauled him out of the water and down to the station. "Unfortunately, I was caught surfing," said Faria, who received a court summons - seen by Reuters - after his booking. "I hope I don't end up with a criminal record for something as silly as that." A few hours later, even with the threat of a fine, Faria and his board were back in the Copacabana surf. Like thousands of Rio's famously sporty locals, Faria could not resist the call of the outdoors. The esplanade lining the city shore is packed with joggers. Groups of spandex-clad bicyclists zip up and down the city's serpentine mountain roads. On March 17, city and state officials implored residents to stay at home, nominally closing beaches and city parks as the coronavirus pandemic tears through Latin America's third-largest city. Rio is Brazil's second-most infected state, according to the Health Ministry, which reported 12,056 confirmed coronavirus cases across the country as of Monday (April 07). Some athletes have complied, citing the danger of spreading the disease en route to beaches. Many argue that sports-related injuries could divert vital medical resources away from the coronavirus fight. The debate has also roiled other solo sports, from skiing to climbing. Yet some surfers have argued they merely cross over the sand to enter the ocean or even enter the water via rocky outcroppings. Still, many athletes acknowledge their concerns pale next to the challenge Brazil faces. State governors, including those in Rio de Janeiro, have warned that underfunded public healthcare systems could soon collapse. Bruno Bocayuva, a surfing journalist in Rio, has given up surfing for weeks in favor of jumping rope, doing push-ups and keeping in shape any way he can. In Brazil, a surf-crazed nation where urban beaches are often clogged before and after work, the debate has taken an acrimonious and even political turn. President Jair Bolsonaro has berated Rio Governor Wilson Witzel for closing beaches, calling the move "dictatorial." With or without a decree, many surfers are simply doing what they can to dodge attention - and each other. "I came early to avoid this total isolation controversy," said Ricardo Bacão, a 65-year-old surfer from Rio's Ipanema neighborhood, as he exited the water on Friday (April 03) morning. "In the same way that people run, they hike, they ride bikes, somebody can grab a board, leave the house, go directly to the water, paddle and go home." (Production: Sergio Queiroz)

  • Paralympians adapt to new challenges as virus spreads
    Associated Press

    Paralympians adapt to new challenges as virus spreads

    DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Sam Grewe could end up missing the start of medical school to go to the Paralympics, and that will be fine with him. With the games postponed until 2021, the Notre Dame student and Paralympic silver medalist in the high jump will face a packed senior year and graduation. “I might miss my first two weeks of medical school to be in Tokyo, which is so far from ideal ... but I wouldn’t miss Tokyo for anything.”

  • Could Simone Biles really do the unthinkable and retire before Tokyo 2021?
    The Guardian

    Could Simone Biles really do the unthinkable and retire before Tokyo 2021?

    The gymnastics superstar has refused to commit to appearing at the next Olympics. Team USA would still be strong even without her thoughLast week when Simone Biles spoke to the press for the first time since the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, she failed to guarantee she would be back for the rescheduled Games in 2021. “I haven’t decided not to do it, but I haven’t really decided to do it,” she told the Wall Street Journal.This was not what we wanted to hear from one of the world’s most exciting athletes. Biles was heading into Tokyo 2020 as the overwhelming favorite to win her second consecutive Olympic all-around title. That would have been a fitting capstone for the 23-year-old’s record-breaking career. Though Biles had been adamant for the past year that she would retire after the 2020 Olympics, most assumed she would continue her career so she could compete in 2021 instead. Biles’ reasons for not immediately committing to next’s summer’s Olympics are sensible: the toll another year of training would take on her already aching body; the desire to move on with her life; and another year of dealing with USA Gymnastics, one of the institutions that enabled former team doctor Larry Nassar to abuse Biles and dozens of other athletes. “I don’t know if I can deal with USAG for another year,” she said.While I’m still betting on Biles being in Tokyo next year, it’s worth contemplating what a US effort without her would look like. She’s been a key part of the program for eight years and it’s hard to imagine the team without her.First, let’s be clear about one thing – the US would still take the women’s team title in Tokyo next year even without Biles. The American program has a deep bench, deeper than any other women’s program. There is definitely a fourth (or fifth or eighth) gymnast that can put up strong scores across the board and help the American women secure victory.But a Biles-less team win wouldn’t look exactly the same. The point margins over the other top teams would be slimmer. At the 2019 world championships, Biles’ floor score, for instance, was a point higher than the other two Americans, whose own floor scores were a point higher than the next best marks from Russia. The US will certainly be able to find another gymnast who can score in the same range as the other Americans but it’s unlikely that they will find one who will score as Biles would. In 2015, gymnastics blogger Lauren Hopkins pointed out that “between 2014 and 2015, the US team improved their final score by about two points. Of these two points, seven tenths came from Biles with the other 1.3 divided among the other four gymnasts.” And this was before she started extending her all-around margins into “fall more than once and still win” territory. Also, Biles competed on all four apparatuses in team finals during the last three major team championships. Replacing Biles means replacing four scores in the team final.And then there’s Biles’ formidable individual medal haul. Biles in Tokyo probably means four gold medals – all-around, vault, beam, and floor. The US certainly has gymnasts that are capable of bringing in medals in all of those disciplines, but their medals are not as assured as Biles’ are. The best bet for a US gold without Biles is vault where Jade Carey excels.Biles is a three-time world champion on the balance beam but her record is, by her standards, spotty. If she hits, she is one of the favorites to win but if she misses – as she did in 2016 and 2018 – she may end up with a medal but it won’t be gold. But beam, in particular, is where the US is loaded with talent. There’s Kara Eaker, who would have been world champion in 2018 if not for a mistake in the finals, and Morgan Hurd, a world silver medalist in 2017. As for floor, the US is reasonably assured of walking away with a medal there as well, perhaps even gold. Even without Biles, the Americans boast some of the best tumblers in the world.And finally, the most prestigious individual contest, the all-around final. Biles has dominated the all-around since her senior debut in 2013. The US certainly has other gymnasts who can win – the Americans won three consecutive Olympic all-around titles before Biles came on the scene – but their wins are not guaranteed. Sunisa Lee, like 2017 world champion Hurd and a couple of other Americans, can win the all-around title on a good day but only a good day. Only Biles can win it on a bad day.All of this prognosticating is based on what the Olympics would have looked like this summer. But 2021 is not 2020. Over the next 16 months, a lot will change. Perhaps there will be injuries to the current group of top contenders. The year before the Games entails some of the most arduous training of a gymnast’s career. The athletes, who were more than halfway through that year, will be forced to endure it all over again. For some, it will be too much. And there will be gymnasts who were already injured but will now perhaps have enough time to recover. In February, Asuka Teramoto of Japan ruptured her achilles. She was out of the picture for Tokyo 2020 but she could very well be back in the mix for 2021.Then there is a whole new crop of contenders who were too young to compete in Tokyo this year but will be 16 and therefore age eligible next year. Two of the most promising juniors who will now be able to compete in 2021 are Konnor McClain of the US and Viktoria Listunova of Russia. The former is the best junior gymnast in the US with enormous potential on balance beam; the latter is the reigning junior world champion. (The International Gymnastics Federation is set to decide what to do about the new seniors in regards to the 2021 Olympics in the next two weeks.)Shortly after the Olympic postponement was announced, Yahoo Sports ran a story about McClain and her Olympic prospects if she competes at the 2021 Games. While McClain’s coach was circumspect about her chances, noting that the gymnast’s preparation had been oriented towards the 2024 Games, 2008 Olympic champion Shawn Johnson posited that McClain could be a potential rival for Biles due to the junior’s youthfulness. That was a ridiculous assertion. While McClain, who was just 32 days shy of 2020 eligibility, is an enormously talented gymnast and an exciting prospect for the future, she has yet to compete as a senior. McClain has a lot to prove before she can be considered a rival to the GOAT.So much can happen in a year. The future is always uncertain but it feels even more so during this pandemic. Biles, who has been a sure thing in gymnastics for the last eight years, won’t give us the certainty we’re desperately seeking by committing to 2021. She can’t even give herself that kind of assurance. Biles, like the rest of us, is going to have to take this one day, one week, one month at a time.

  • Phelps urges athletes to seek help for stress of Games delay
    AFP

    Phelps urges athletes to seek help for stress of Games delay

    US Olympic great Michael Phelps says it's "hard to comprehend" what today's athletes are going through with the Tokyo Games postponed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. "It's our life," Phelps said in an interview on NBC's Today show on Monday. The International Olympic Committee took the historic decision to postpone the Tokyo Games by 12 months as Olympic hopefuls found it harder and harder to train with sports and facilities shut down by the pandemic.

  • Phelps urges athletes to take care of mental health after Games delay
    Reuters

    Phelps urges athletes to take care of mental health after Games delay

    Olympic great Michael Phelps has voiced his concerns over the negative impact on athletes' mental health of the Tokyo Games postponement prompted by the new coronavirus pandemic. Last month the International Olympic Committee decided to delay the Tokyo Games for a year as the global health crisis prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak hit the professional sports calendar and brought daily life to a grinding halt for millions. "You go through something for four years and we kind of know exactly when it's going to come and our bodies are ready for it, then we have to wait," the retired swimmer, who won 28 Olympic medals, told NBC in an interview on Monday.

  • Reuters

    Governing body plans to stage first world championship in Olympic year

    "We're keen to organise the world championship in Norway next year," UWW-Europe President Tzeno Tzenov told Reuters. There are six weight categories at the Olympics and 10 categories at the world championship, so you can see the difference.

  • I'll train in my living room if I have to - Dressel on COVID-19 & Olympics
    Reuters Videos

    I'll train in my living room if I have to - Dressel on COVID-19 & Olympics

    SHOWS: GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (APRIL 3, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIC AND WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPION, CAELEB DRESSEL, SAYING: "If the swimming pools get shut down then I guess I'm going to get really good at running. There are ways around it just to keep that heart rate up but for the most part we're all in the same boat, but it is tough. I mean of course I would like to have my normal routine, but I don't have that, so what are the next steps to take. If I have to train in my living room, if they completely shut everything down or I can't leave the house then I'm training in the living room. Like I said, it's a part of the puzzle, it's a part of the process. If I don't have something available, then we'll make do. So, if I have to train in my living room then I'll get ready." 2. WHITE FLASH 3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIC AND WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPION, CAELEB DRESSEL, SAYING: "It's been weird. That's the best word I have for everything. I mean, 100% I don't want to make light of this situation at all. I understand the severity but it's been weird for everybody, not just me, just how empty the streets are and how you want to make plans to go to the beach or go to downtown or something and it's just like 'Oh wait, we can't do that right now'. So definitely taking precautions and stuff. A lot of shops… all the shops are closed. Really the only thing open for us is food that you can order to go and then grocery stores have the one in one out policy if you want to buy groceries. So, I've been cooking a lot more than I normally do. And then get to hang out with my roommates. So, it's been definitely different but I'm starting to settle into a routine during this time and that will be good so it hasn't been too bad." 4. WHITE FLASH 5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIC AND WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPION, CAELEB DRESSEL, SAYING: "There is one pool open that's about 45 minutes away from me and then I am fortunate enough to have my strength coach actually has all his equipment, all the needed equipment with the normal weight routine I'm on in his garage. So, weights has been fine, my strength levels are fine, just maintaining the best I can. I don't want to fry myself at this moment like I was saying because the meet (Olympic Games) is so far along and kind of out of reach a little bit but I have pool time Monday to Friday, 45 minutes away - only singles - but I'll drive further if I have to. I don't know, again, it's just with uncertainties. I don't know how long that pool is going to be open. It's a small group, we're not breaking any of the rules that we have in place here. It's a very small group that's going up there to train, we sign waivers before we get in the water of we're symptom free, we haven't been out of the state, all this stuff. So we're taking the right steps for sure. I don't want to put anyone in harm's way just so I can get to a pool in Florida but it has been tough. I miss swimming." 6. WHITE FLASH 7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIC AND WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPION, CAELEB DRESSEL, SAYING: "I mean it's been awesome. I mean just to have something because there's so many uncertainties right now, you know. I don't know when my next swim meet is going to be. I don't know when I'm going to be back in the pool I normally train at. I don't know when campus is going to open up again. There's uncertainties for everybody - I'm not the only one in this boat, I don't want to play the victim here in any part. I still have a job. The worst thing is my Olympics got cancelled - OK, I wasn't even on the Olympic team, OK. So really the worst thing for me was the U.S. Olympic trials got cancelled, OK, I wasn't even guaranteed a spot going to Tokyo. So, it's fine. (They're) not even cancelled, they're postponed so OK my meet is a year later that's the worst thing that can happen to me. So to be able to have through all this uncertainty a meet that we know is going to happen, financial gains that are in place already through (Ukrainian businessman) Konstantin (Grigorishin) and ISL (International Swimming League); it's huge for everyone to have that fallback during a time like this and to have that support through ISL which was so much fun last year. I mean, enjoyed it, the new team mates I made, being a part of a whole new team that didn't exist before rather than a country which is how typically all swimming competitions are setup - country v country - so it's nice to have that unity of course within not just one country but swimmers from all over the world to be able to fallback on that same plan that was put in place last year and then to come up with that whether it was plan A, plan B, plan C, plan D, whatever from Konstantin and to have something in place that is for sure is tremendous. It's huge for us, to have that support it means so much because swimming is not the biggest sport in the world, I totally understand that, I don't really care but to have someone who does care about us; it's massive." 8. WHITE FLASH 9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIC AND WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPION, CAELEB DRESSEL, SAYING: "So, I like the idea. I think it's great that Konstantin is putting something in place but there's so much uncertainty with sponsorships that I have at the moment, with where those are going to go, how those dates are going to pan out. So, I like the idea, I love that Konstantin is supporting us but I don't know how far in advance what my schedule is going to be like or what it's going to be like or how the companies I'm involved with at the moment what they're going to need from me within those months. So, I like the idea, of course. I mean I would love to compete in ISL, it was great last year but I can't say 100% I'm doing this because there's so many uncertainties right now for everybody but I mean I like the idea of being together with everybody again, racing again and it would be pretty cool to have it in the same spot like that." GWANGJU, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - JULY 27, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 10. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF DRESSEL COMPETING IN THE MEN'S 100-METRE BUTTERFLY FINAL AT THE WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS GWANGJU, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - JULY 26, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 11. TWO STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF DRESSEL COMPETING IN THE MEN'S 100-METRE BUTTERFLY HEATS AT THE WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS GWANGJU, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - JULY 27, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 12. TWO STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF DRESSEL JUST AFTER WINNING THE MEN'S 50-METRE FREESTYLE FINAL AT THE WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 13. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF DRESSEL POSING WITH THE MEN'S 50-METRE FREESTYLE GOLD MEDAL TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 14. VARIOUS OF OLYMPIC RINGS OUTSIDE NATIONAL STADIUM TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - NOVEMBER 21, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 15. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF AQUATICS CENTRE, WHICH WILL HOST SWIMMING AND DIVING DURING OLYMPICS 16. VARIOUS INTERIORS OF AQUATICS CENTRE STORY: Caeleb Dressel's world, like billions of others around the world, has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Olympic and world swimming champion was preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Games until last week but now that that's been postponed until next year, the 23-year-old has a very clear diary. Dressel, a 13-times world champion, now has to drive 45 minutes to the nearest swimming pool that's open in order to train every day in Florida while adhering to the state rules on social distancing. When he's not training, he's spending a lot of time with his two roommates and dog instead of going to the beach and downtown. And if the levels of social restrictions are increased, Dressel told Reuters on Friday (April 3), that he would train in his living room if he had to in order to stay fit for when normality resumes and he can focus on his aim of adding to his one Olympic gold medal he claimed at the Rio 2016 Games. The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled to start in July this year, have been postponed to July 23-Aug 8, 2021 due to the pandemic. There is so much uncertainty in most athletes' lives at the moment which is why Dressel proclaimed Friday's news that the professional International Swimming League (ISL) will fund its contracted athletes with monthly payments from September through to next year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympics as "massive". The ISL also plans to get all its 320 swimmers, which Dressel is one of, together for a five-week special event of training and competition, possibly filmed behind closed doors and with Australia the likely location, from Oct 14 to Nov. 17 subject to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dressel said the 'Solidarity Program' would provide peace of mind at a time of uncertainty, with some countries in lockdown as they battle the new coronavirus. Dressel, who competed in the inaugural ISL season, liked the idea of doing it again but stopped short of committing to a return to the planned five-week event, due in part to uncertainty with his existing sponsorships. The ISL launched last year as a fast-paced competition with 10 teams from Europe and North America featuring an array of world and Olympic champions and bankrolled by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin. The contracted swimmers will each get a guaranteed $1,500 a month from Sept. 1 to July 1 with $11 million set aside to cover wages, bonuses, ambassador payments and prize money in a condensed season. The total cost of paying for everything could amount to $20 million dollars, although that could be reduced by television deals and sponsorship and depends on the planned five-week 'radical swimming event' going ahead.

  • Athletes Village for Olympics could house virus patients
    The Associated Press

    Athletes Village for Olympics could house virus patients

    The under-construction Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could be used as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been talking about the possibility of occupying the massive development on Tokyo Bay, which is to house up to 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes and staff during the games. , is expected to remain unoccupied with the Olympics delayed for 16 months.

  • The Associated Press

    Olympic delay adds workload, costs and cash flow uncertainty

    Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 will make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the games pushed back to July 23-Aug. 8 next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event's future, there are still plenty of question marks as the IOC begins to work with Tokyo organizers and governing bodies of 33 sports in a huge task to amend thousands of contracts.

  • Olympic chiefs bracing for extra costs in rescheduling Tokyo Games
    AFP

    Olympic chiefs bracing for extra costs in rescheduling Tokyo Games

    Olympic chiefs said Thursday they were bracing themselves for the extra costs incurred by rescheduling the Tokyo Games by a year to 2021. The historic decision to postpone the summer Olympics by 12 months was taken this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.

  • National committees have final say on qualified athletes for Tokyo Games
    Reuters Videos

    National committees have final say on qualified athletes for Tokyo Games

    RESENDING WITH UPDATED SCRIPT VIDEO SHOWS: AUDIO OF SOUNDBITES FROM IOC SPORTS DIRECTOR, KIT MCCONNELL AND IOC'S OLYMPIC GAMES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHRISTOPHE DUBI, SHOWS: UNKNOWN LOCATION (APRIL 2, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPORTS DIRECTOR, KIT MCCONNELL, SAYING: (AUDIO IS OVERLAID BY REUTERS PICTURE OF KIT MCCONNELL) "All of the qualifications that have been achieved by an NOC (National Olympic Committee) or by an athlete remain in place. Now yes, because it's defined in the Olympic charter any athlete that goes to the Games needs to be individually selected by their National Olympic Committee because they are representing the NOC. But in all sports the NOC retains the right to select the individual athlete from anyone who is eligible to fill that place." 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPORTS DIRECTOR, KIT MCCONNELL, SAYING: (AUDIO IS OVERLAID BY REUTERS PICTURE OF KIT MCCONNELL) "Look, one of the interesting things with moving the dates is not only in football but in several sports there are specific age regulations in place; be it a minimum age or a maximum age and some cases that's designed to be for health and safety reasons - in others it's to provide a specific age group and in particular men's football where we have the restriction on to under-23 with the four players over that date. As you can imagine we're only a few days after the decision to know exactly when the Games are but we're in discussions with each of the federations including FIFA where those age regulations are specified in the qualifying systems and we hope to finalise that in the next couple of weeks for everyone's certainty. So no decisions yet but you can imagine there's a logic to looking at that and having the same athletes or teams that achieve the qualification place to be the ones taking part next year but only to confirm that with the respective international federations including FIFA in the next couple of weeks." 3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC'S OLYMPIC GAMES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHRISTOPHE DUBI, SAYING: (AUDIO IS OVERLAID BY REUTERS PICTURE OF CHRISTOPHE DUBI) "The (athletes') village is part of the first priority. The village is the home away from home for the athletes. It's a fantastic development that has been made here. So yes it's part of the very first task to re-secure this fantastic property that has been developed and will become, as you know, as of 2023 a new community in the Bay of Tokyo so yes absolutely it's part of that urgency list that we want to tick those boxes." 4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC'S OLYMPIC GAMES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHRISTOPHE DUBI, SAYING: (AUDIO IS OVERLAID BY REUTERS PICTURE OF CHRISTOPHE DUBI) "So it's a massive undertaking to get back to the fundamentals and make sure that in a matter of weeks we have secured and locked all of this so that then the other task which is to plan for the remainder of the 16 months to go can be done having some certainty regarding these fundamental pieces that needs to be in place." TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 5. VARIOUS OF OLYMPIC RINGS OUTSIDE NATIONAL STADIUM TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 15, 2019) (FOREIGN POOL - ACCESS ALL) 6. VARIOUS INTERIORS OF NATIONAL STADIUM SAPPORO, JAPAN (FILE - APRIL 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 7. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF SAPPORO DOME, WHICH WILL HOST SOCCER MATCHES DURING OLYMPICS TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - NOVEMBER 21, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF AQUATICS CENTRE, WHICH WILL HOST SWIMMING AND DIVING DURING OLYMPICS 9. VARIOUS INTERIORS OF AQUATICS CENTRE TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 26, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 10. TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC ATHLETES VILLAGE 11. VARIOUS OF WORK UNDERWAY AT ATHLETES VILLAGE 12. VARIOUS OF APARTMENTS AT ATHLETES VILLAGE 13. WORK UNDERWAY AT APARTMENTS AT ATHLETES VILLAGE 14. APARTMENTS AT ATHLETES VILLAGE STORY: Athletes already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will need to be picked again by their respective National Olympic Committees to compete at the postponed Games in 2021, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday (April 2). The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world last week by agreeing to postpone the Games by a year to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some 57% of the 11,000 athletes had already qualified for the Tokyo Games this year before qualification tournaments were scrapped as the virus spread in recent months. Those athletes, the IOC said, would keep their qualification but would need to be re-selected for next year by their National Olympic Committee again as they represented a nation and not themselves. "All of the qualifications that have been achieved by National Olympic Committees and individual athletes remain in place," IOC Sports director Kit McConnell said in a conference call. "Any athlete needs to be individually selected because they represent their NOC. In all sports the NOC retains the right to select the athletes." McConnell said the IOC was also in talks with world soccer body FIFA to decide on tournament next year, as only players aged under 23 are allowed to compete apart from a limited number of over-age players per team. In many cases footballers will be above the age limit next year although having qualified this year. "In several sports there are specific age regulations, minimum or maximum, for health safety or to provide an age group as in men's football with under-23." "We are in discussions with FIFA... We have to finalise that in the coming weeks." The IOC is also efforting to make the athletes' village available again after it was planned to be sold off as apartments after this year's Games. "The village is part of the first priority," the IOC's Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said. "The village is the home away from home, a fantastic development. It is one of the very first tasks to re-secure this fantastic property. Yes, it is absolutely on that urgency list". Dubi said those first priority venues, including the dozens of sports venues, convention sites and thousands of hotel rooms, would need to be re-secured quickly. "All of this has to be re-secured for one year later," Dubi said. "It is a massive undertaking to get back to fundamentals." He added that the IOC planned to have finalised talks for those "priority" locations in a matter of weeks. (Production: Tim Hart)

  • Beijing 2022 planners assessing impact of postponing Tokyo
    Associated Press

    Beijing 2022 planners assessing impact of postponing Tokyo

    Organizers of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing say they will conduct a “detailed assessment” of the impact on their plans of the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to next year. In a statement carried by the official Xinhua News Agency, Beijing 2022 organizers said they were in close communication with the International Olympic Committee to ensure the “special situation" is handled properly. The IOC and local organizers agreed last week to push the Tokyo Games back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Biles says mental strain to wait for Olympics will take toll
    AFP

    Biles says mental strain to wait for Olympics will take toll

    Reigning world and Olympic all-around gymnastics champion Simone Biles says coping with the mental strain of waiting another year for the Tokyo Olympics will take a heavy toll by 2021. Biles, who turned 23 last month, told the Today show on US Olympic telecaster NBC that she expects coaches will have her in top condition, but getting her mind in top shape in July a year later than planned will be difficult. "Physically I have no doubt that my coaches will get me back in shape," Biles said.

  • Simone Biles won't commit to Tokyo Olympics in 2021: 'We're just playing it by ear'
    Yahoo Sports

    Simone Biles won't commit to Tokyo Olympics in 2021: 'We're just playing it by ear'

    Still processing the emotion of losing 2020, Simone Biles isn't ready to make plans for 2021.

  • Simone Biles on 2021 Olympics: 'Nothing is set in stone'
    The Associated Press

    Simone Biles on 2021 Olympics: 'Nothing is set in stone'

    There's a large whiteboard calendar on a wall inside the massive gym owned by Simone Biles' family that outlines every major gymnastics event of the year, the 2020 Olympics included. When the Tokyo Games were officially postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the reigning Olympic champion's coaches ran over to the calendar and erased all of it. Watching Cecile Landi wipe away all of Biles' carefully laid plans left the 23-year-old star reeling.

  • American gymnast Biles cried at news of Tokyo postponement
    Reuters

    American gymnast Biles cried at news of Tokyo postponement

    The American gymnast, who is typically very active on social media, appeared on NBC's 'Today' program from her home to give her first public comments since the Olympics were postponed last week because of the coronavirus pandemic. "I was actually in the gym training at the time because we were allowed under 10 people... and I went to the locker in between rotations and I got a text," said Biles. The 23-year-old Biles, already the most decorated gymnast in world championship history, had previously said she would retire after the Tokyo Olympics, which were originally scheduled to run from July 24-Aug. 9 this year.

  • Simone Biles fears mental toll on athletes after postponement of Tokyo Olympics
    The Guardian

    Simone Biles fears mental toll on athletes after postponement of Tokyo Olympics

    * Gymnast was set to be one of the stars of this summer’s Games * American says she agrees with decision to delay Tokyo OlympicsSimone Biles has spoken of her fears of the mental toll on athletes as they ponder an extra year of preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.The Games were due to start in July but have been postponed until the summer of 2021 as major sports events shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Biles, who is arguably the greatest gymnast of all time, was expected to win multiple golds in Tokyo this year. > How did @Simone_Biles receive news that the 2020 Olympics were postponed? > > "I was in the gym training...I didn't really know what to feel. I just kind of sat there and I cried. But ultimately it was the right decision," she says. pic.twitter.com/UtOPD2SNjK> > — TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 1, 2020“Physically I have no doubts that my coaches will get me back in shape, but mentally going another year, I think that is what’s going to take the toll on me and all of us and most of the athletes,” the American told NBC’s Today show. “We have to stay in shape mentally just as much as physically. That will play a big factor moving forward, listening to your body and your mind.”Biles will be 24 when the Games start next year, an age when most Olympic gymnasts have long since retired. She says the decision to delay the Olympics was correct.“I was actually in the gym training at the time because we were allowed under 10 people ... and I went to the locker and between rotations and I got a text,” she said. “I didn’t really know what to feel. I just kind of sat there. I cried but ultimately it was the right decision. We need to make sure everyone in the US and around the world is healthy and safe. It was hard but it’s OK.”Athletes face challenges to their training schedule with large parts of the world in lockdown, but Biles said she is finding ways to stay in shape.“I’m in contact through text and FaceTime with my coaches ... so we can figure out a plan moving forward for the next year,” she said. “Other than that, they have sent us at-home workouts. I’m also walking my dog a lot more. Just trying to stay healthy and in shape before we can return to the gym and start the training process again.”Biles has won 30 golds combined at the Olympics and gymnastics world championships. Four of those golds came at Rio 2016, where she was one of the stars of the Games.

  • Simone Biles cried when Olympics were postponed, but feels 'it was the right decision'
    Yahoo Sports

    Simone Biles cried when Olympics were postponed, but feels 'it was the right decision'

    Simone Biles is still planning on competing in the rescheduled 2020 Olympics, and is staying in shape by walking her dog.

  • Olympic flame to stay a month in Fukushima; next stop unsure
    The Associated Press

    Olympic flame to stay a month in Fukushima; next stop unsure

    The Olympic flame will be on display until the end of April in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. Tokyo Olympic and prefecture officials held an official “handover ceremony”on Wednesday at the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima. The flame arrived in Japan from Greece on March 20 and the torch relay was to have started last week from Fukushima.

  • Olympic flame to stay a month in Fukushima; Next stop Tokyo?
    Associated Press

    Olympic flame to stay a month in Fukushima; Next stop Tokyo?

    The Olympic flame will be on display until the end of April in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. Tokyo Olympic and prefecture officials held an official “handover ceremony”on Wednesday at the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima. The flame arrived in Japan from Greece on March 20 and the torch relay was to have started last week from Fukushima.

  • Olympic flame passed into Fukushima’s safekeeping at low-key ceremony
    Reuters Videos

    Olympic flame passed into Fukushima’s safekeeping at low-key ceremony

    RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT VIDEO SHOWS: TOKYO 2020 CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER YUKIHIKO NONOMURA RECEIVING OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN AND HOLDING OVER TO FUKUSHIMA GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE MAKOTO NOJI / NONOMURA MAKING SPEECH / NOJI AND NONOMURA POSING WITH OLYMPIC FLAME / NOJI MAKING SPEECH / NOJI SPEAKING ABOUT IMPORTANCE OF J-VILLAGE / LANTERN ON DISPLAY / CHILDREN PLAYING FOOTBALL AT J-VILLAGE SHOWS: FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN (APRIL 1, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN ARRIVING AND BEING HANDED TO TOKYO 2020 CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER YUKIHIKO NONOMURA 2. NONOMURA PASSING OLYMPIC FLAME TO HEAD OF BUREAU OF CULTURE AND SPORTS FOR FUKUSHIMA GOVERNMENT, MAKOTO NOJI 3. NONOMURA AND NOJI POSING WITH OLYMPIC FLAME 4. NOJI PLACING OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN ON PEDESTAL 5. OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN ON PEDESTAL 6. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOKYO 2020 CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, YUKIHIKO NONOMURA, SAYING: "This is a (symbol of) hope for the world so that it can overcome the serious problem of the novel coronavirus and through the Tokyo 2020 Games, we will be able to celebrate the best of humanity." 7. TOKYO 2020 TORCH RELAY SIGN 8. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HEAD OF BUREAU OF CULTURE AND SPORTS FOR FUKUSHIMA GOVERNMENT, MAKOTO NOJI, SAYING: "We hope that by combining our efforts with people both in and outside Japan, we will be able to overcome the unprecedented difficulties the world is facing due to the novel coronavirus. Next year, we are sure that the Olympic flame which will depart from the J-village will be a flame of hope that will hold the strong message that all difficulties can be overcome and that this will provide a light of hope to many people." 9. NONOMURA AND NOJI POSING WITH OLYMPIC FLAME 10. OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN ON PEDESTAL 11. VARIOUS OF NONOMURA AND NOJI POSING WITH OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN 12. NONOMURA AND NOJI ARRIVING FOR MEDIA BRIEFING 13. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HEAD OF BUREAU OF CULTURE AND SPORTS FOR FUKUSHIMA GOVERNMENT, MAKOTO NOJI, SAYING: "J-Village is Fukushima prefecture's symbol of reconstruction following the the big earthquake and nuclear power station accident. This is the Grand Start (of the torch relay). I am very happy that we are able to show the Olympic flame here where it can be seen by everyone in the prefecture. " 14. VARIOUS OF OLYMPIC FLAME IN LANTERN ON PEDESTAL 15. EXTERIOR OF J-VILLAGE, JAPAN'S NATIONAL TRAINING CENTRE FOR SOCCER 16. SIGN READING (English) "J-VILLAGE NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER" 17. VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING SOCCER ON PITCHES STORY: Tokyo 2020 organisers left the Olympic Flame in the hands of Fukushima prefecture on Wednesday (April 1), where the diminutive flame, housed in a lantern, will be on display for the next month. The stilted and subdued ceremony took place at the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima, originally set to be the starting point of the torch relay before the decision came to postpone the Games until next year following the coronavirus outbreak. The Olympics will now run from July 23 to August 8, 2021 following a decision made by the International Olympic Committee and Games organisers last week. On a day when the torch relay was supposed to be already a week in, the ceremony was understandably low-key, with only Tokyo 2020 chief operating officer Yukihiko Nonomura from the organising committee making the trip north. The flame will stay on display in the J-Village until April 30, where it will be moved to Tokyo. Organisers have yet to decide where in the Japanese capital it will be displayed. "This is a (symbol of) hope for the world so that it can overcome the serious problem of the novel coronavirus and through the Tokyo 2020 Games, we will be able to celebrate the best of humanity," said Nonomura to start the ceremony. He then handed the Olympic flame to Makoto Noji, head of culture and sports for the Fukushima government. The J-Village was chosen as the starting point of the 121-day torch relay, originally due to start on March 26, because it is a symbol of Japan's reconstruction following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The facility was used as a base to launch recovery efforts along the devastated coastline and has only recently been resurrected to its former glory as a centre for Japan's elite young soccer players. (Production: Jack Tarrant, Yu Takito)