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  • March 30, 2020

Canadian athletes’ careers in question with Olympic postponement

In the wake of Tuesday’s unprecedented announcement — the first time the Games have ever been postponed — a logistical nightmare stands in the way of the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 planning committee.

Athletes have questions they want answered once again, a common theme they’ve been grappling with ever since the global COVID-19 pandemic created havoc with their usual rigid routines.

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From venues to scheduling, qualification processes to shifting timelines and financial implications, the IOC and organizing committee have a huge amount of work to do — something they could never have expected or planned for even as recently as three months ago.

“It will create some complications, but it’s better than exposing athletes to a dangerous situation,” Canada’s Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, said the CBC on Tuesday. “One of the things will be how many of the facilities that were planned for 2020 will be available in 2021. The international sport calendar will have to be rejigged.”

Two massive international events set for summer 2021 — the world athletics and world aquatics championships — will no doubt be affected by the postponement. World Athletics, track and field’s governing body, said Tuesday it’s talking with organizers about alternative dates for the track world championships set for Eugene, Ore., next summer.

The event is currently scheduled to run Aug. 5-15, 2021.

That would be in direct conflict if the Games parallel the original schedule set for Tokyo 2020, which were to run July 24 to Aug. 9.

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World swimming body FINA also said it will talk to the Japanese organizers of the 2021 world championships about a possible schedule clash with the Tokyo Olympics.The championships are planned for July 16-Aug. 1 in Fukuoka.

Steve Carr

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