Four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent says Tokyo Games should be called off amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The four-time Olympic gold medallist tweeted that it would be 'ludicrous' to host an event with thousands of people flying in from around the world.

Agence France-Presse January 11, 2021 23:21:04 IST
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent says Tokyo Games should be called off amidst COVID-19 pandemic

File image of Matthew Pinsent. AFP

London: British rowing great Matthew Pinsent says this year's Tokyo Olympics should be cancelled because of the coronavirus, and the Japanese capital should then replace Paris as the host city for the 2024 Games.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist tweeted that it would be "ludicrous" to host an event with thousands of people flying in from around the world.

The Tokyo Games were meant to take place last year but were postponed after global sport came to a halt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organisers say the Games will go ahead in 2021 despite a state of emergency declared in the greater Tokyo area after a surge in virus cases.

But Pinsent said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) needed to be show leadership.

"Once again the IOC Olympic Committee) need courageous leadership," he tweeted. "The idea of Olympic athletes/officials/delegations getting vaccine priority is antithetical.

"The risks of an event with 000s (thousands) of people flying round the world to gather unvaccinated is ludicrous."

The 50-year-old rower, who won gold at successive Olympics from 1992 to 2004, added: "My own view is that the Summer Olympic queue should be asked to shift. Tokyo given the option of delaying until 2024, Paris move to 28 and LA (Los Angeles) 32. The athletes lose an Olympics but that's looking likelier by the day."

Pinsent made his comments in response to a survey showing support for the postponed Games had hit a new low in Japan.

Just over 80 percent of those asked by the Kyodo news agency said the Olympics should be cancelled or postponed again — a jump from around 60 percent in a December survey by the same outlet.

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