The Australian Olympic Commission (AOC) has announced what may have been patently obvious: there’s no way to assemble an Australian team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and all of our athletes should instead prepare for a postponed competition in a year’s time.
In a statement, the AOC today said the global impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) forced its board to suspend preparations for the July event. Fair enough, IMO, given the paradigm shift we’re all living through.
“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July,” said Australia’s Chef de Mission for Tokyo Ian Chesterman.
“Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.”
Putting the kibosh on this year’s preparations will allow Australian athletes to ready themselves for a reshuffled Tokyo event in 2021, Chesterman said.
The AOC’s announcement comes hours after the International Olympic Committee revealed it’s gearing up for a postponed 2020 event.
While this year’s event hasn’t been cancelled (yet), the IOC states it is looking into “the rapid development of the worldwide health situation… including the scenario of postponement.”
Notably, the IOC states “cancellation is not on the agenda.”
All of this is understandably a huge blow to Australian competitors, many of whom have been preparing for years to represent the nation at the highest level of their disciplines.
But, as AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll said, the IOC decision is aimed at “putting athlete health first.”
Fair. Catch you in 2021, we suppose. Until then, you can revisit this compilation of diving photos from Rio 2016. God knows I’ll be visiting them to tide me over.Image: Brendan Moran / Sportfile / Getty Images