USA Gymnastics says its athletes want Tokyo Olympics postponed


Posted at Mar 24 2020 09:26 AM

Gold medalist Simone Biles of the U.S. celebrates on the podium with her medal and flowers. File Photo. Wolfgang Rattay, Reuters.

The majority of USA Gymnastics athletes support the idea of postponing the July 24-Aug. 9 Tokyo Olympics due to concerns about the coronavirus crisis, the federation said on Monday.

The national governing body had asked gymnasts to complete an anonymous survey to ensure their voices were heard on the topic of whether to delay the two-week showcase event.

"After considering the responses from athletes who participated in our survey & the 62% who were in favor of delaying the Games, we are adding our voice to the chorus advocating for postponement," Li Li Leung, president and chief executive officer of USA Gymnastics, said in a news release.

"We are grateful to have our athletes' insight and input to guide this decision."

The U.S. women, spearheaded by four-time Olympic and 19-time world champion Simone Biles, are favourites to complete a hat-trick of team titles in Japan should they ultimately attend an event whose organisers are facing global pressure to postpone.

Detailed results of the survey, which followed recent calls from USA Swimming and USA Track and Field to postpone the Tokyo Olympics, were not disclosed.

Earlier on Monday, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said the IOC has decided to postpone the Games in light of the pandemic with an eye towards possibly staging them next summer instead.

Major sporting nations Australia and Canada had already withdrawn on Monday as organisers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in its 124-year modern history. 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).