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Olympic fallout: postponement will upend other major events

AP
Published Mar 25, 2020, 9:07 am IST
Updated Mar 25, 2020, 9:07 am IST
The ripple effect is bound to affact the Big Three -- athletics, swimming and gymnastics
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach delivers a statement at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. AFP Photo
 International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach delivers a statement at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. AFP Photo

Lausanne: The expected yet stunning decision Tuesday to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics because of the coronavirus could have a ripple affect on other major events, most notably the world championships for track and swimming.

While the International Olympic Committee has yet to set a new date for the Tokyo Games other than "not later than summer 2021,'' the revised calendar undoubtedly will heavily impact two of the event's biggest sports.

 

Athletics

The 2021 world athletics championships are scheduled for next summer in Eugene, Oregon, which is constructing a new stadium that will seat 30,000 on the site of historic Hayward Field. The next world aquatics championships are set for roughly the same time in Fukuoko, Japan.

Paul Doyle, one of track and field's most influential agents, believes the track worlds should be postponed until the summer of 2022, in the midst of what is essentially an off year for the sport.

Now, it's all about the timing. The track worlds are scheduled for Aug. 6-15, which obviously won't work if the Tokyo Olympics are pushed back a full year to roughly the same spot on the calendar as this year's games -- July 24-Aug. 9.

 

If the Olympics are held in April or May, an idea that seems to be under serious consideration, the track worlds could press forward with their plans.

Swimming

Swimming also holds its biggest event outside the Olympics in odd-numbered years. The 2021 aquatics championships -- which in addition to swimming also include diving, water polo, artistic swimming, open water swimming and the non-Olympic sport of high diving -- are set for July 16-Aug. 1 in Fukuoka, which is about 675 miles (1,088 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo on the island of Kyushu.

 

Again, that timing won't work if the Olympics are shifted to the summer of 2021.

But Cornel Marculescu, the executive director of world governing body FINA, said there is no chance of the next worlds being bumped back to 2022.

"No, no, no, no, no, no,'' he defiantly told The Associated Press by phone.
Marculescu said the IOC is considering two options for the Summer Games, which will have a direct impact on FINA's next move.

If the IOC goes with a summer date, FINA would have to decide whether to hold its world championships before or after the Olympics.

 

Gymnastics

The other member of the Olympics' Big Three is gymnastics, which stages its world championships every non-Olympic year.

The 2021 event is set for Copenhagen, Denmark, but not until Oct. 18-24, so it shouldn't be directly affected by the Olympic postponement. Training schedules and other competitions would have to be altered, however.

The world governing body said it will do "everything necessary to adapt its events calendar to fit the new dates" of the Olympics.

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Location: Switzerland, Vaud, Lausanne




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