USA Swimming officials are asking the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to advocate for the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In a letter released Friday on Twitter, Tim Hinchey III, CEO of USA Swimming, said he felt “compelled to speak out” about the pending games amid the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
“As this global pandemic has grown, we have watched our athletes’ worlds be turned upside down and watched them struggle to find ways to prepare and train — many for the biggest competitive opportunities of their lives,” Hinchey’s letter says. “Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime and anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer.”
Instead, Hinchey said “the right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations.”
Hinchey added that athletes are under pressure, experiencing stress and anxiety “and their mental health and wellness should be among the highest priorities.”
“It is with the burden of these serious concerns that we respectfully request that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by one year,” Hinchey wrote. “There are no perfect answers, and this will not be easy; however, it is a solution that provides a concrete path forward and allows all athletes to prepare for a safe and successful Olympic Games in 2021.”