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Longest-serving IOC member casts doubt on postponing or moving Tokyo Games

IOC member Dick Pound says organizers could probably wait until late May to see how the coronavirus outbreak is going before deciding the fate of the Olympics.

The longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee estimates there's a three-month window - perhaps even a two-month one - to decide whether the Tokyo Olympics can move ahead with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

The games are being threatened by the fast-spreading virus from China, officially named COVID-19. 

IOC member Dick Pound told the Associated Press “you could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” before deciding the fate of the games. That would mean putting off a decision until late May. 

Pound's comments cast doubt on the possibility of postponing, moving or scattering this summer's games instead, saying organizers will probably either hold the event or cancel it. 

The Olympics are scheduled to open on July 24. 

Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion who has been on the IOC since 1978, says if the coronavirus has not abetted by then “you are probably looking at a cancellation. This is the new war and you have to face it.” 

Late last week, Olympic organizers postponed training sessions for volunteers because of the coronavirus outbreak but again stated there are no plans to cancel or delay the 2020 Games.  

Tokyo officials say the training postponement is “part of efforts to prevent the spread of infection." 

Pound said he was speaking for himself, not for the IOC. He no longer serves on the IOC's executive board where he was a member for two decades. 

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He also sounded a hopeful note and urged athletes to keep training. He says “as far as we know you're going to be in Tokyo."  

Credit: AP
People wait in line to take pictures with the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)