Tokyo Olympics 2020: US Olympics CEO tells American athletes to plan for Games like no other
In a letter to Team USA athletes posted on the US Olympic website, US Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief Sarah Hirshland warned competitors to be adaptable and open to making sacrifices
Los Angeles: American athletes should prepare for the Tokyo Olympics but expect a Games unlike any other due to COVID-19 , US Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland said Wednesday.
In a letter to Team USA athletes posted on the US Olympic website, Hirshland warned competitors to be adaptable and open to making sacrifices with changing situations possible before the scheduled 23 July Olympic opening ceremony in Japan.
"Our expectation today is that the Games will go forward," Hirshland wrote. "They will look and feel different than any previous Games, as we will all be asked to continue to make sacrifices and adaptations to protect the health of our community.
"We'll learn more in the coming weeks, and the USOPC and the NGBs (national sport governing bodies) will continue working extraordinarily hard to mitigate against the unexpected, and to give every Team USA athlete the best opportunity to achieve their sporting dream - with as little distraction as possible.
"At the same time, know that the safety and well being of Team USA is our number one concern and it guides every decision we make."
A major distraction and worry for athletes worldwide came in a recent report the Olympics would be called off. IOC leaders and organising chiefs dismissed the report but not before worldwide concern, including by those hoping to compete in Tokyo.
"Amidst a lot of uncertainty and questions, the countdown to the Tokyo Games continues," Hirshland wrote. "Though we can expect there will be a lot of speculation and opportunity for misinformation in the weeks and months ahead, know that we will share official updates with this community as soon as we have them."
The Tokyo Olympics, planned for last July and August, were postponed in the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak and reset for similar dates this year as vaccines begin to reach populations across the globe.
Even so, there are expected to be numerous changes and safeguards in place to allow for competition at the Tokyo Olympics due to the virus pandemic.
"There's still a lot to be excited about," Hirshland said. "After all, these are the Olympic and Paralympic Games – and they have a long history of bringing the world together and bringing out the best in those who compete and celebrate them."
With just under six months until the Olympics, Hirshland offered support to the American Olympic community.
"The collective commitment and focus through these unprecedented times is nothing short of remarkable," she wrote. "It's an exemplary demonstration of unity, teamwork and the very spirit that defines Team USA."
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On Wednesday, both the men's and women's three-member teams ended the first three qualification rounds in medal-winning positions, with two more qualification rounds to go before the finals.
Manu, one of the country's brightest medal hopes at the upcoming Games, thanked Rijiju for his prompt intervention but is also hoping for action against the Air India officials at Delhi airport. Later, Air India, too, apologised for the conduct of its staff.
The IOC's Boxing Task Force, which is in charge of conducting the qualifiers as well as the main event for the sport in Tokyo, decided to cancel the world qualifiers and push the European qualifiers to June from April in view of the COVID-19 restrictions globally.