THE most sensible thing to do now with the Tokyo Olympics is to postpone them.
One idea would be to reschedule for later this year. Or perhaps it would be better to move it until the summer of 2021?
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But I cannot see them going ahead on time on July 24.
Japan have worked incredibly hard to try to control the outbreak and spread of Covid-19.
But even if Japan is OK in four months’ time, the rest of the world might not be.
Nations are closing borders and locking down. As far as the IOC are concerned, it should always be about fairness.
And that has probably been my biggest gripe the whole of my sporting career.
As a swimmer who competed in the 1980s against drug- taking East Germans, fairness doesn’t usually seem to be at the top of the IOC’s to-do list.
It’s often about money instead.
This time they have to look at the whole picture. And not think about the sponsors, promotions and finance. I’m surprised the IOC are trying so hard to insist the Games will go ahead as planned.
It appears they are waiting and waiting, hoping it will be fine come the end of May.
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But the World Health Organisation, at some stage in the not too distant future, will probably put enough pressure on them to postpone.
You cannot have an Olympic Games without spectators.
You cannot have an Olympic Games if America, Australia, UK, France or Italy all pull out. You cannot have an Olympic Games if top nations in Africa cannot send athletes because they become the next continent to battle coronavirus.
The Games must be a true reflection of proper world sport. This is a global issue. It’s not a political issue. It’s a health issue.
And it’s right and proper we put health before sport.
There is also the question about unfairness in terms of the preparation in different countries around the world.
That could mean a lack of access to pools, velodromes and athletics tracks.
Some countries are closing their facilities. Other countries have kept them open.
And there is also the big question of drugs cheats. All my life I’ve been an advocate for anti-doping measures.
Official drug-testing is being reduced in the UK for obvious reasons, thus not meeting Wada testing standards.
That’s totally understandable but it will create questions over some performances if testing is unregulated across all sports and countries.
Naturally there is a lot of uncertainty. Our Olympians are in limbo. I know how they feel. I’ve been there, too.
Before the 1980 Moscow Games, Russia invaded Afghanistan. This forced the US to boycott those Olympics.
PM Margaret Thatcher also called for a boycott. In the end, Britain sent a team to Moscow. But I trained for three months, getting up every morning at 5am, not knowing if I would be going. It was a horrible experience.
Unfortunately if the Games are pushed back, some might struggle to reproduce the same form in 12 months’ time.
The summer of 2020 might be some athletes’ last attempt to do something major.
I feel for each and every one of our potential Olympians.
I’m accredited to attend Tokyo and had hoped to be poolside. It would be my 12th Olympics as a swimmer or broadcaster for the BBC.
I would be desperately sad if I cannot attend. But I’m also desperately sad that I’ve an 84-year-old dad who has to be isolated.
I’ve a sister who needs to take special care and my son’s partner has a baby due.
We all have a duty to stay safe and look after our families at this critical time.
I’m heartbroken for small-business owners not able to withstand cash-flow issues and those losing their jobs. World economies are in free-fall.
I’m not sure people feel a happy celebration of sporting success is the right thing.
The world needs to be back on an even keel before we have a world event like the Olympics so it’s fair for all athletes from all countries.
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