A longtime International Olympic Committee member gave differing statements Monday on the potential for postponement of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
Dick Pound, of Canada, an influential and outspoken figure with the IOC for decades, told the CBC he believes the Games will be moved to a later date.
“We’re all reading the tea leaves and so on, but the Japanese themselves are talking about postponing,” he was quoted as saying. “A lot of national Olympic committees and countries are calling for a postponement.”
That comment seemed to fall short of another interview Pound gave with USA Today, in which he stated that “postponement has been decided.”
Reached at home by The Los Angeles Times, Pound initially agreed to talk but asked a reporter to call back. He then hung up on the return call.
The Games were scheduled to begin on July 24 but the IOC has faced global concerns about proceeding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a lengthy statement issued Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach announced that his committee would “step up” discussions with Tokyo 2020 organizers, Japanese government officials and public health experts in hopes of reaching a decision within four weeks.
Cancellation is not on the table, Bach said, but the statement signaled a new willingness to consider changing the date.
“Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games,” Bach wrote in an open letter to athletes. “The IOC wants to be part of the solution.”
When asked for a response to Pound’s comments, an IOC spokesman said: “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC [executive board] which was announced yesterday.”